Study: Blacks in Mahoning County receive more predatory loans
reveals few complaints
By Burton Speakman
Nearly half of Mahoning County’s black residents who bought a house in the county between 2004 and 2011 received a predatory loan, a fair-housing study shows.
The study shows 46.7 percent of blacks received a “loan with predatory-style characteristics,” said Robert Gaudin, director of research and planning for Western Economic Services LLC.
The American Bar Association website says a predatory loan is one that is lent based on the borrower’s equity in the property, and not on the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.
The company conducted a fair-housing study for NEO Sustainable Communities Consortium, which covers Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
For the Eastgate region, which includes Mahoning, Trumbull and Ashtabula counties, 42.8 percent of blacks received predatory loans, according to study information. This compares to 17.4 percent of whites between 2004 and 2011.
Despite these figures, Mahoning County did have a low number of fair-housing complaints, Gaudin said.
“Complaints were much lower than I expected for an area that size,” he said.
In addition, blacks in Mahoning County were denied for home loans 33.9 percent of the time, which was more than double the 14.7 percent denial rate for whites, Gaudin said.
“Blacks are getting denied at a much higher rate than whites,” he said.
“They are also being isolated geographically so their choices are limited.”
Gaudin presented additional information that showed blacks living primarily in Youngstown in areas that contain higher poverty rates.
The federal government won’t use this data to say it shows discrimination in the housing market, only that there are differences, Gaudin said.
The Rev. Kenneth Simon, pastor of New Bethel Church on Youngstown’s South Side, said, unfortunately, results like this are to be expected, and they are pretty much normal.
“This issue needs to be addressed, but the facts continue to validate the truth,” he said. “The most vulnerable of us are the most victimized.”
This disparity exists not just in housing, but also in employment, education and the criminal-justice system, the Rev. Mr. Simon said.
The key is to continue to fight against institutions that perpetrate unfair housing and other discriminatory tactics, Mr. Simon said.
The overall point of the study was to show where issues exist within Northeast Ohio and develop a vision of what this area should be, said Anthony Kobak, project manager for NEO Sustainable Communities Consortium.
Then the area needs to develop plans and find funding for programs to help make any necessary changes to make area housing more equitable, he said.
For information or to comment on the overall study go to www.neoscc.org.