In 2007, nearly 25 percent of Wells Fargo’s highest-earning 259 black borrowers in the Baltimore metropolitan area, who all reported earnings of $120,000 or more, received high-cost mortgages from the lender. About 15 percent of Wells Fargo’s 259 lowest-earning white borrowers in metropolitan Baltimore, who all reported earnings of less than $40,000, got subprime loans from the lender.
Must-read report at the Chicago Reporter, with Excel files. Wells Fargo’s exploitative lending practices have wreacked havoc, and not just here; Baltimore officials have filed suit against the company, as the NYT detailed a couple weeks back. Alden Loury asks: why not us?
I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage you to read Beryl Satter’s Family Properties, a jawdropping and infuriating work of history about how unfair slumlord lending practices devastated Lawndale during the mid-20th century. It’s an amazing book, almost guaranteed to be the best I read all year, and, if you’re skeptical, it’s not as dry as it might sound; Satter’s father was a prominent landlord and lawyer in the neighborhood, so it’s as much a family history (hence the title) as a civic history, and certainly resonant given what we know about lending during the housing bubble.