mortgage discrimination n.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
Mortgage Discrimination PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
Mortgage Discrimination

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 34

Mortgage Discrimination - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Mortgage Discrimination . ECN741: Urban Economics, Professor Yinger. Mortgage Discrimination. Outline of Class Formal Definitions of Discrimination The Boston Fed Study The Importance of Disparate-Impact Discrimination

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

Mortgage Discrimination

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
mortgage discrimination

Mortgage Discrimination

ECN741: Urban Economics, Professor Yinger

mortgage discrimination1
Mortgage Discrimination

Outline of Class

  • Formal Definitions of Discrimination
  • The Boston Fed Study
  • The Importance of Disparate-Impact Discrimination
  • Blending Loan Characteristics and Loan Performance Data to Obtain More Precise Estimates of Discrimination
mortgage discrimination2
Mortgage Discrimination

A Hint of Trouble

  • The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) provides information on virtually all mortgage applications in the country.
  • These data reveal that for many years, blacks and Hispanic applicants have been far less likely than white applicants to have their applications approved.
  • This does not prove that discrimination exists, but it is a difficult regularity to explain without discrimination.
mortgage discrimination4
Mortgage Discrimination

Definition of Discrimination

  • The Behavior
    • Lenders receive applications for mortgage loans and decide whether to approve them (and what terms to offer) based on the characteristics of the applicant, the loan, and the property.
    • This underwriting process may involve automated underwriting tools, including credit scores.
    • It results in both an approval decisions and, if the loan is approved, a set of terms and conditions.
mortgage discrimination5
Mortgage Discrimination

Discrimination in Mortgage Lending

  • Disparate-Treatment Discrimination
    • Using different criteria for evaluating the loan applications (or setting terms) of people in different groups.
  • Disparate-Impact Discrimination
    • Using underwriting standards that have a disparate, negative impact on people in protected classes without being justified on the basis of “business necessity.”
  • Business Necessity
    • To meet the business necessity test, a standard must be directly linked to the profits a lender could make in a competitive, group-neutral market.
mortgage discrimination6
Mortgage Discrimination

The Loan-Approval Decision

  • Definitions
    • L = characteristics of the loan, such as its interest rate and loan-to-value ratio
    • A= characteristics of the applicant, such as his or her past credit problems
    • P= characteristics of the property, such as whether it is in a declining neighborhood.
    • π = loan profitability
  • Decision rule based on best available information
mortgage discrimination7
Mortgage Discrimination

The Loan-Approval Decision, 2

  • Decision rule based on incomplete statistical model
  • or
mortgage discrimination8
Mortgage Discrimination

Formal Definitions of Discrimination

  • Disparate-Treatment Discrimination
    • This type of discrimination exists if membership in a protected class (= M) affects the accept/reject decision after controlling for L, A, and P.
mortgage discrimination9
Mortgage Discrimination
  • Disparate-Impact Discrimination
    • This type of discrimination is buried in the difference between πE and π.
    • A difference between πE and π implies that the lender is using criteria that, to some degree, are not related to loan profitability.
    • For disparate-impact discrimination to exist, the criteria leading to this difference must be particularly unfavorable to applicants in a protected class.
mortgage discrimination10
Mortgage Discrimination

The Boston Fed Study (1990 Data)

    • Risk of Default Loan Characteristics

Housing Expense/Income Two- to Four-Family House

Total Debt Payments/Income Lender ID

Net Wealth

Consumer Credit History

Mortgage Credit History

Public Record History

Probability of Unemployment


Loan/Appraised Value Is Low

Loan/Appraised Value Is Medium 

Loan/Appraised Value Is High

    • Costs of Default Personal Characteristics

Denied Private Mortgage Insurance Black or Hispanic

Census Tract Dummies

mortgage discrimination11
Mortgage Discrimination

Criticisms of Boston Fed Study’s Methodology

  • Potential flaws in the Boston Fed Study include:
    • omitted variables,
    • data errors in the explanatory variables,
    • mis-classification in the dependent variable,
    • incorrect specification, and
    • endogenous explanatory variables.
mortgage discrimination12
Mortgage Discrimination

Ross and Yinger, The Color of Credit (2002)

  • R/Y investigate each of these potential flaws.
    • No legitimate data-cleaning exercise or revised statistical procedure has a significant impact on the estimated minority status coefficient (or its statistical significance)
    • They confirm the Boston Fed’s conclusion:

Blacks and Hispanics are 82% more likely than whites to be turned down for a loan, controlling for L, A, and P.

mortgage discrimination13
Mortgage Discrimination

R/Y’s Re-Interpretation of Boston Fed Study

  • The Boston Fed Study’s results could reflect
  • Disparate-Treatment Discrimination
    • If all lenders use the same underwriting standards, any group-based difference in treatment implies that the standards are applied differentially across groups.
  • Or
mortgage discrimination14
Mortgage Discrimination
  • Disparate-Impact Discrimination
    • A significant minority-status coefficient could arise if different lenders use different underwriting standards and deviations from average standards cannot be justified on the basis of business necessity.
  • Legitimate Variation in Underwriting Standards Across Lenders
    • A significant minority status coefficient could reflect non-discriminatory, cost-based differences in underwriting standards across lenders.
mortgage discrimination15
Mortgage Discrimination

Accounting for Variation in Underwriting Standards

  • R/Y re-estimate the Boston Fed Study’s equations to account for potential variation in underwriting standards across lenders.
    • Some regressions have interactions with characteristics of lenders’ portfolios
    • Some regressions allow different coefficients for different lenders
mortgage discrimination16
Mortgage Discrimination
  • All methods yield the same two main results:
    • Underwriting weights differ significantly across lenders.
    • Accounting for this variation in underwriting weights has no significant impact on the estimated minority-white disparity in loan approval.
    • Unless legitimate variation in underwriting weights in not linked to a lender’s portfolio, these results indicate that either disparate-treatment or disparate-impact discrimination exists.
mortgage discrimination17
Mortgage Discrimination

Subsequent Literature

  • The Boston Fed Study has not been replicated
  • Later studies include
    • Studies of loan approval with a small sample of lenders.
    • Studies of discrimination in “overages” for a small sample of lenders.
    • Explorations of the HMDA data, which cannot be used to study discrimination due to lack of controls.
mortgage discrimination18
Mortgage Discrimination

Data Problems

  • Scholars have not been able to get ahold of the necessary data.
  • Problems include:
    • Lenders will not release the data to scholars.
    • Regulators will not provide the data to scholars.
    • Loans are difficult to follow because they are sold an re-sold, so samples with approval and performance data (more on this later) are very hard to put together.
mortgage discrimination19
Mortgage Discrimination

The Need to Study Disparate-Impact Discrimination

  • People who want to practice disparate-treatment discrimination (but are prevented from doing so) can achieve virtually the same outcomes using disparate-impact discrimination.
  • A firm can rely on traits that are correlated with race to “predict” a person’s race and then to construct rules that are unfavorable for people in a certain racial group.
  • This is particularly true in lending, because so many financial variables are highly correlated with race.
mortgage discrimination20
Mortgage Discrimination

Disparate Impact in Automated Underwriting

  • An automated or statistically based underwriting system (or “scoring scheme”) uses sample of outstanding loans to explain loan performance, P (=default probability or loan profitability) on the basis of credit characteristics, X (the same as L, A, P from earlier slides).
  • Then it predicts loan performance for applicants based on their characteristics and this analysis.
  • No scheme is supposed to use membership in a protected class, M.
mortgage discrimination21
Mortgage Discrimination

A Full-Information Scoring Scheme

  • A full-information scheme estimates
  • Then calculates S1= full-information loan score
  • Whenever γ is significant, this scoring scheme involves disparate-treatment discrimination because it considers M.
mortgage discrimination22
Mortgage Discrimination

A Non-Discriminatory Scoring Scheme

  • A non-discriminatory scoring scheme is:

where is the share of loans held by minority households.

  • This scheme is based on the same performance regression asS1, but it does not differentiate between minority and white applicants.
mortgage discrimination23
Mortgage Discrimination

A Seemingly “Group-Neutral” Scoring Scheme

  • Suppose a credit-scoring company tries to be race-neutral by estimating
  • and using the “group-neutral” scoring scheme:
mortgage discrimination24
Mortgage Discrimination

Bias in the “Group-Neutral” Scheme

  • Using expected values, it is easy to show that this performance equation is biased by the omission of M.

where bi is the correlation between M and Xi.

  • This as an application of the standard formula for omitted variable bias.
mortgage discrimination25
Mortgage Discrimination

The Trouble with Lawyers

  • This “group-neutral” scheme changes the weight placed on each X, not on the basis of a business necessity, but instead on the basis of correlation with minority status.
  • Lawyers seem to conclude that this approach is neutral.
  • But, in fact, this is disparate-impact discrimination.
mortgage discrimination26
Mortgage Discrimination

Blending Performance and Time-of-Application Data

  • This analysis leads to new, more precise tests for discrimination, which have not yet been implemented, due to lack of data.
  • The most straightforward application is to loan approval, but the same logic applies to automated underwriting or credit scoring schemes, which have never been evaluated by scholars, and to loan pricing.
  • This approach picks up both disparate-treatment and disparate-impact discrimination.
mortgage discrimination27
Mortgage Discrimination

A New Test for Discrimination

  • Step 1:
    • Obtain a sample of applications to many lenders; observe the number of approvals (A).
  • Step 2:
    • Obtain a sample of approved loans drawn from the same pool; observe their performance over time; estimate a loan-performance model using the best method available.
mortgage discrimination28
Mortgage Discrimination

A New Test for Discrimination, 2

  • Step 3:
    • Use the model from step 2 to obtain a loan-performance score for each application in step 1.
    • Rank the applications in step 1 by their loan-performance score; identify the highest-ranking A applications.
mortgage discrimination29
Mortgage Discrimination

A New Test for Discrimination,3

  • Step 4:
    • Compare the minority composition of the approved applications in step 1 with the minority composition of the highest-ranking applications (which might not be approved).
    • This difference is a measure of discrimination (and can be evaluated with a difference-of-means test).
    • It cannot separate disparate-treatment and disparate-impact discrimination, but picks up both.
mortgage discrimination30
Mortgage Discrimination

Accounting for Legitimate Variation Across Lenders

  • There are two ways to account for legitimate variation in underwriting standards across lenders:
    • 1. Implement the above procedure with data for a single lender.
    • 2. Estimate the above model with data pooled across lenders, with lender dummies, and with variables to describe a lender’s portfolio (so long as they predict within-group performance).
mortgage discrimination31
Mortgage Discrimination

Extension to Loan Terms

  • This approach can be extended to cover loan terms, which is an important extension in a world with automated underwriting.
    • Estimate a model of loan performance as before.
    • Predict performance for a sample of new loans.
    • Regress interest rate (including points and fees) on predicted performance and group membership.
mortgage discrimination32
Mortgage Discrimination

Extension to Loan Terms, 2

  • I recently came across a working paper that uses his approach for a large sample of loans from Florida and California in 2005.
  • “Race, Redlining, and Subprime Loan Pricing,” by A. C. Ghent, R. Hernandez-Murillo, and M. T. Owyang. Available at: .
  • This study finds evidence of discrimination in loan pricing, especially for loans originated by mortgage brokers.
mortgage discrimination33
Mortgage Discrimination

Extension to Loan Terms, 3

  • The impact of discrimination on blacks and Hispanics in this study is up to 29 basis points, which translates into an increase in the monthly payment of about $60 or increase in the mortgage amount of about $20,000.
  • They also find evidence of redlining against minority neighborhoods, which is also illegal.