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Finance and Economics Discussion Series
The Finance and Economics Discussion Series logo links to FEDS home page The Role of Race in Mortgage Lending: Revisiting the Boston Fed Study
Raphael W. Bostic

Abstract: This paper reexamines claims that non-economic discrimination persists in mortgage loan origination decisions. I find that racial differences in outcomes do exist, as minorities fare worse regarding debt-to-income requirements but better for loan-to-value requirements. Overall, significant racial differentials exist only for ``marginal'' applicants and are not present for those with higher incomes or those with no credit problems. Thus, the claim that non-economic discrimination is a general phenomenon is refuted. Further, I can say little regarding the existence of discrimination among ``marginal'' applicants. To conclude that such discrimination exists, one must prove that the observed differences are not due to economic factors.

Keywords: Discrimination, mortgages, race, credit risk

Full paper (679 KB PDF) | Full paper (591 KB Postscript)

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Last update: July 16, 1997