SFgate.com – Letters to the editor

As Kevin Fagan and Robert Selna’s excellent story (“Latinos in Merced feel brunt of crisis,” Dec. 5) noted, Latinos have indeed been disproportionately affected by the foreclosure crisis.

But one significant factor wasn’t mentioned in the story.While some on the far right have tried to blame low-income borrowers for triggering the financial crisis, there is evidence that Latino and African American borrowers were often steered into high-cost subprime loans when they could have qualified for better terms. Research by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found that among the most qualified borrowers, those with FICO credit scores of 720 or above, black and Hispanic borrowers were four times as likely as whites to receive a subprime loan.

Today our nation faces a tide of millions of pending foreclosures, often caused by circumstances beyond the borrowers’ control, that have the potential to devastate whole communities.

It’s time for the federal government to recognize that the Home Affordable Modification Program has failed and put in place a program that will provide real relief, centered on reducing the principal of mortgages that were based on unrealistic, bubble-inflated values.

Orson Aguilar, executive director,

the Greenlining Institute, Berkeley

Race and subprime loan crisis