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.

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