Lenders appear significantly more hospitable to Hispanic borrowers in metropolitan areas east of the Mississippi than west of it, the 1993 HMDA data show. And this difference shows up in areas with large as well as sparse Hispanic populations.
The Miami-Hialeah area of Florida, for example, had denial rates for Hispanics that were at least seven percentage points lower than any of four metropolitan statistical areas in Southern California, plus San Antonio and Phoenix. Chicago was even better, posting the lowest denial rate of any of the top 10 MSAs but for San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Hispanics made up 98% of the applicants.
As a group, the top 10s rejection rate of 17.97% was virtually the same as the 18.63% rate for all 341 MSAs. Eliminate San Juan from the tally and the remaining nine cities denial rate would jump to 19.58%. Among the 10 best and 10 worst MSAs, two trends emerge: an East-West dichotomy and the fact that bankers in most areas don't see many Hispanics coming through their doors.
To produce its 10 best/10 worst lists, Mortgage Marketplace eliminated 67 of the 341 MSAs because they had nine or fewer Hispanic applicants. Of the remainder, Rapid City, S.D.with 13 applicants and six denials posted the highest rejection rate at 46.15%. Only two of the 10 worst had more than 100 Hispanic applicants.