FSIC Housing Task Force Blogpost – Black Homeownership Increases, but Hurdles Remain for True Equity

Last month, the National Mortgage News reported that non-banks made nearly two-thirds of all traditional home purchases, a meaningful increase.  For instance, 7.9% of these mortgages went to African American borrowers, up from 7.3% in the previous year.  Asian households had a 7.1% home lending market share, improving on 5.5% in 2020, while Hispanic borrowers received 9.2% of the loans.  Additionally, the share of conventional purchase loans made to borrowers from underrepresented communities also increased.

It is still evident, however, that a significant homeownership gap exists in cities across the country.  An Axios DC analysis found that as the black population of the nation’s capital continues to decrease, the homeownership gap between black and white District residents continues to grow.  According to the DC Mayor’s office, 34% of DC homeowners are black, compared to 49% percent of white residents.  However, some cause for optimism can be found as the number of total black homeowners increased by nearly 4,000 in 2019.

FSIC Housing Task Force Op-ed – The Biden Housing Plan is a Good Start, Here’s How to Improve It

Potential homeowners in the U.S. are facing a myriad of challenges. From rising inflation to rising interest rates, the process has perhaps never been more challenging, especially for those going through it for the first time. And with the average 30-year rate increasing to 5.27 percent, more homeowners than usual are priced out of refinancing.

Many first-time home buyers also must deal with a number of egregious fees, due to zoning issues or as a result of employment verification services like The Work Number, which has raised its prices 31 percent over the last several years.

FSIC and HLF Op-ed – Consumers and Small Businesses Suffer From Unfair Swipe Fees

By: Mario Lopez
Posted: Jun 25, 2022 12:01 AM
Published on Townhall.com

Consumer spending drives the U.S. economy.  Historically, American consumers have pushed us into economic expansions and pulled us out of economic doldrums.

But what if we told you that one of the basic tools the American consumer uses for everyday purchases is rigged against us all and hurts the economy, with low-income Americans and small businesses taking the biggest hit?

FSIC Blog Post – Video Highlights Hidden Fees in Housing Market

In a new video, the Market Institute’s Charlie Sauer examines the rise in sales prices and interest rates of homes across the country and scrutinizes the higher-than-anticipated costs Americans face in the home-buying process.  In the video, Sauer zeroes in on zoning and land use issues, tariffs on products such as lumber and steel, and companies such as The Work Number that put upward pressure on prices.

Sauer notes that many cities have zoning practices like parking requirements and prohibitions on multi-family homes, which have made construction more expensive, and limited housing supply – exacerbating racial and economic inequality.  Zoning isn’t the only issue, though, as Sauer highlights how restrictive trade policies on major homebuilding components such as flooring, iron, and steel pipes are subject to tariffs, making housing more expensive.

FSIC Video Podcast – “African Americans, Real Estate, and the Impact of Systematic Racism”

May 13, 2022, Kevin B. Kimble, Esq., Founder and CEO, FSIC, and Brady J. Buckner, President, FSIC interview with Thaddeus Dawson, CRA designated member with he National Society of Real Estate Appraisers. In this episode outlines the historical and current effects of systematic racism on property valuation and how it has impacted the long term wealth building prospects for communities of color. This is an FSIC Housing Task Force Project.

FSIC Blog Post – “The Wobblies”: Iconic Film on the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Is Re-released for May Day

The film details the history of the Industrial Workers of the World — a radical union whose members are also known as Wobblies — and their inclusive fight to organize “unskilled” workers, secure fair wages and enshrine the eight-hour workday in the early 20th century before they were targeted and repressed by the FBI during World War I.

FSIC Press Release – FSIC Releases Special Report Titled “The Future of Facial Recognition and its Impact on Minorities: What Policy Makers Should Consider”

This paper examines the benefits of facial recognition technology, the danger of inaccuracies and human error, and the need for inclusion in the tech marketplace.  While there is some evidence that FRT has benefited underserved communities, the bias built into these systems must be reduced for communities of color to realize their full advantages.
According to Kevin B. Kimble, Esq., Founder and CEO of FSIC, “As FRT becomes more and more prevalent in people’s lives in the U.S., it is important that disadvantaged communities enjoy the benefits of this technology and not feel the brunt of its disadvantages.” 

FSIC Special Report – The Future of Facial Recognition and its Impact on Minorities: What Policy Makers and Stakeholders Should Consider – April 2022

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the emerging technology revolution have brought many incredible advances.  From natural language processing to facial recognition technology to semantic analytics, there are many things to admire and appreciate.  Because modern facial recognition technology (FRT) cannot exist without AI, much of the discussion in this area revolves around the accuracy of the AI component. 
But, as with all things, there are cautionary issues to be taken into account.  One of the most pressing issues is that of racial equity and diversity.  Over the last few years, the US has become ever more aware of its problems with systemic racism and economic disparity.  This awareness has spilled over into discussions about the regulations of the technology industry. 

FSIC AIOF Press Release – FSIC American Innovation and Opportunity Fund (AIOF) and EmsanaRx Announce an Innovative Health Equity Initiative

Today, the American Innovation and Opportunity Fund (AIOF), in conjunction with pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) EmsanaRx, announced a new initiative to help combat health disparities. Aimed at empowering communities of color and other underserved Americans to access and use the health care resources available in the U.S., this initiative comprises community leaders, academics and corporate leaders committed to this cause.

FSIC Housing Task Force Blog Post – CFPB Warning to Banks, Credit Unions, and Fintech on Potential Misuse of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Should not Discourage the Proper Use of Technology

Recently, the director of the CFPB, Rohit Chopra, publically warned banks that depending too much on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and algorithmic lending during the mortgage application approval process might lead to fair lending violations.  He contends that all AI-based algorithms have built-in bias and will always have some bias.  Our question to the CFPB is, why haven’t they made the same warning to traditional lenders (banks) whose approval processes result in alarming levels of documented bias against disadvantaged and minority borrowers?

FSIC Housing Task Force – Blog Post – GAO: Alternative Data Is Rare but Could Improve Mortgage Terms for Disadvantaged Communities

One issue our Housing Task Force aims to address is the lack of credit too many consumers face due to the limited information that credit bureaus collect. A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office adds some fresh findings that illuminate the problem.