The great boom in home-loan refinancing passed by a higher percentage of minorities who own homes in Chicago than it did white homeowners, according to a report released Thursday.
An analysis of 1992 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data by the Woodstock Institute, a local advocacy group, shows minority people who own homes applied for loan refinances at a much lower rate then did whites. The study also shows those homeowners' applications were rejected at a far higher rate than were whites'.
"I think this is a wake-up call to look at refinance activity more closely," said Malcolm Bush, Woodstock's president.
While owning 29% of the homes in Chicago, African-American homeowners obtained only 9% of all the local refinancings made in 1992, according to the study.
Whites, who own 59% of the homes in Chicago, secured 72% of the refinancings in the city.
Whites' Filings Far Ahead
The study found that whites filed applications for refinancing home mortgages more than six times the rate of African American homeowners. Yet, less than three times as many whites own homes in Chicago.
A recent investigation of HMDA data by Connecticut Urban Reinvestment Endowment Inc., showed a similar trend in New Haven County, said Harvey L. Koizim, the organization's president.
Stephen B. Ashley, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, said lenders are taking reports like Woodstock's "very, very seriously."
Mr. Ashley said this latest report was just another drop in the sea of data pointing toward a more active approach by mortgage bankers on urban lending. Mr. Ashley said the MBA had been encouraging such action for at least a year.
Woodstock's report says the Chicago lending industry has not made refinancings "uniformly accessible to all residents."
"The bottom line is, refinances were an enormous opportunity in 1992 and whites seemed to benefit disproportionately," Mr. Bush said.
Marketing is a key, the report says. It says marketing may be more important in promoting refinancing than it is in plugging lending for home purchases.
The study maintains that lenders -- who primarily focus their marketing campaigns at the general public -- do not train their marketing on the media outlets of specific minority groups.
"Banks have to make a similar effort that cigarette makers and beer companies make to sell in inner cities," said Mr. Koizim of Connecticut Urban Reinvestment.
Barry Goldstein, managing director of Olympia Mortgage Corp., a Brooklyn, N.Y., lender that does most of its business in inner cities, said he had not seen any lenders targeting their marketing at specific borrowing communities in the inner cities.
"Bankers are white and live in suburbs and don't make enough of an effort to learn about what's going on in inner cities," said Mr. Koizim, who was once a bank president.