US subprime lenders targeted blacks, poor: report

The report by the United for a Fair Economy (UFE) advocacy group said subprime mortgages, home loans issued to Americans with scant finances, were “ruthlessly hawked” and that a “solid majority of subprime loan recipients were people of color.”

Hundreds of thousands of families lost their homes to foreclosure last year after failing to keep up with mortgage payments, a hefty chunk of which were subprime loans, amid a national housing downturn that shows no sign of easing.

Some economists believe the almost two-year-long housing slump could pitch the world’s largest economy into a recession.

“The crisis has ruined many economic lives and many communities,” the UFE report said, adding that “even a surface check of the demographics shows that, in city after city, a solid majority of subprime loan recipients were people of color.”

UFE researchers said Detroit, Michigan has been hit by more foreclosure filings than any other city in the one hundred largest US metropolitan areas, and that it ranks third among cities with the largest black populations.

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