WASHINGTON -- A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston found that the extent of racial bias among mortgage lenders has been exaggerated, but confirmed that discrimination is a serious problem.

The study took a comprehensive look at many variables that affect mortgage lender's decisions in the Boston area, seeking to isolate when race appeared to be the key factor in rejections. Many of those variables were not examined in analyses of data released for the first time last year under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

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