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Danielle Bell


Analysis of 2021 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Data Shows Need for Improved Regulations to Eliminate Barriers

Contact: Danielle Bell, Senior Program Manager for Media Relations,

Oakland, California – A new analysis of federal home mortgage data shows that communities of color in California continue to face deep disparities in access to home loans compared to white communities. The disparity is particularly stark for women of color, who make up 30% of California’s population but receive only 8% of home purchase mortgages from the top 15 lenders in the state, consistent with 2020.

The Greenlining Institute report, Home Lending to Communities of Color in California 2021, is based on 2021 lending data reported under the federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. For the past 6 years, Greenlining has analyzed HMDA data and published findings on an annual basis (view past reports here). During this time, disparities in home lending have remained consistent, with little to no improvement year-over-year. 

“With rising interest rates and the high-profile collapses of multiple banks, financial conditions are tightening across our economy. The impacts of this will undoubtedly land the hardest on communities of color that are already denied home lending opportunities more often than their white counterparts,” said Debra Gore-Mann, President & CEO at The Greenlining Institute. “The moral hazard of banks exploiting low-income communities through disparate lending standards is very high and we must not let that happen.”

“Home lending to communities of color must increase in order to establish financial stability for future generations,” said report co-author Rawan Elhalaby, Associate Director of Economic Equity at Greenlining. “The homeownership and lending disparities we see today are the direct result of decades of redlining and disinvestment in communities of color by banks and the government. It’s time to stop this vicious cycle that continues to lock communities of color out from the wealth-building potential of owning a home.”

Key findings include:

  • Latino households access 21% of the state’s home purchase loans, despite making up over 40% of the population, and Black households access 3% of home loans, while making up over 5% of the population. 
  • Women of color, 30% of the state’s population, receive just 8% of home purchase loans by the top 15 lenders in California, consistent with 2020. Women of color are also more likely to access a loan from a nonbank lender than from a mainstream bank. 
  • Low-income white borrowers are more likely than low-income borrowers of color to receive a home loan in over half of the six regions proportional to their percentage of the population. 
  • Nonbank lenders are more likely to make home loans to low-income borrowers than traditional banks—with both conventional and government-subsidized loans. 
  • Ten of the top 15 home purchase lenders are largely unregulated nonbanks that do not offer traditional banking services and operate largely online. These nonbank lenders are currently not subject to the federal Community Reinvestment Act, therefore their lending is not regularly assessed to determine whether they meet the credit and borrowing needs of the communities where they operate. 

The report identifies recommendations for policymakers and lenders to address the barriers communities of color face when accessing home loans: 

  • California policymakers should implement a state Community Reinvestment Act to expand beyond the many limitations of the current federal law. Nonbank lenders should have the same mandate to serve low-to-moderate-income communities as traditional bank lenders, and this mandate can come from the state. State governments in Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York have already passed state CRA legislation.
  • The federal government should strengthen the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. This important law can be made more effective with easier-to-access data that is disaggregated by different racial and ethnic communities. At the state level, California regulators should help to lead this discussion with respect to nonbank lenders licensed by the state.
  • Lenders must take steps to expand access to home loans by offering more loan products and outreach tailored to low- to moderate income families. 
  • Lenders should provide more support to nonprofit organizations led by people of color that provide homeownership counseling. 

“Everyone should be able to live in a home that is affordable, safe, resilient to the impacts of climate change, and build intergenerational wealth. Policymakers and lenders must take responsibility and end these glaring and longstanding disparities. This is how we can begin to heal the lasting legacy of redlining and disinvestment in communities of color,” Gore-Mann continued.  

To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit