Women In Housing-2015

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Th e M Rep o RT | 23 Feature Th e M Rep o RT | 23 Katie Buitrago is the Communications Director and Senior Policy and Research Associate at Woodstock Institute. She manages Woodstock Institute's communications and outreach strategy and contributes to policy advocacy and research efforts on issues related to housing and student lending. Spencer cowan is the SVP of Research at Woodstock Institute. He leads Woodstock Institute's applied research for economic security program, including work on access to mortgage and small business credit, the distribution of negative equity, and the availability of employment-based retirement savings plans. Chart 3 Difference in Probability of Refinance Mortgage Origination for Female Applicants, 2011-13, by Income Range, Controlling for Loan- to-Income Ratio Chart 4 Difference in Probability of Refinance Mortgage Origination for Female Applicants, 2011-13, by Loan Type, Controlling for Loan-to-Income Ratio from women. For refinance applications, 77.6 percent of male applications and 73.9 percent of female applications resulted in the loan being originated. These findings raise troubling questions about whether lenders' business practices might be raising barriers to mortgage credit for women. Originators should carefully examine their lending practices and processes to ensure that they do not contain elements that could potentially be contributing to the gender disparities in loan origination rates. Closing the Gap and the Role of Mortgage Lenders W hile the HMDA data for Chicago is sobering, lenders can help close the gap be- tween male and female borrowers by first examining the extent to which gender disparities are at- tributable to systematic differences between applications from women and men in the pool of applica- tions they have received. Mortgage originators have access to more data about underwriting decisions than is available through HMDA, including data on credit scores, property value, and back-end debt-to-income ratio. If analysis of the more complete data does not explain the disparities even after controlling for key underwrit- ing criteria, lenders may need to re-examine their lending practices to avoid possibly running afoul of fair lending laws by dispro- portionately denying applications from women without an adequate business justification. In addition to the steps lenders can take to investigate and, if appropriate, address the causes of these disparities, Woodstock Institute believes that policymak- ers must take action to ensure that all applicants are being con- sidered fairly. Recommendations include regulators further investigating possible gender discrimination in mortgage lending practices, particularly for lenders with above-average dis- parities; the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau expeditiously finalizing enhancements to HMDA; and the expansion of policies to reduce the gender wage gap. Reducing the wage gap for women will ultimately expand their access to the mort- gage market as well. Disclaimer: This story is based on research funded by JPMorgan Chase. The findings, opinions, and conclusions expressed in the report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of JPMorgan Chase. Table 2 Loan Origination Rates by Gender and Loan Purpose, 2011-2013 Purchase Refinance Female Male Female Male Chicago 81.4% 83.9% 75.0% 79.0% California 83.5% 85.1% 77.7% 80.6% Florida 77.4% 80.3% 70.8% 73.7% Illinois 81.8% 84.6% 74.4% 79.4% New York 81.9% 83.5% 66.9% 68.8% Texas 83.9% 86.2% 70.3% 75.3%

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