Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fed Dispels CRA Myth

That blaming the Community Redevelopment Act for the subprime mortgage crisis is bullshit and always was bullshit is confirmed by Federal Reserve Board Governor Elizabeth Duke:
Although the current problems appear to be rooted in high-risk subprime lending, I would like to dispel the notion that these problems were caused in any way by Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) lending. The CRA is designed to promote lending in low- to moderate-income areas; it is not designed to encourage high-risk lending or poor underwriting. Our analysis of the data finds no evidence, in fact, that CRA lending is in any way responsible for the current crisis. In our analysis of loan originations, we found that approximately 60 percent of higher-priced loans went to middle- or higher-income borrowers or neighborhoods, which are populations not targeted by the CRA. Additionally, more than 20 percent of the higher-priced loans that were extended in low- to moderate-income areas, or to low- to moderate-income borrowers, were loans originated by lenders not covered by the CRA. In fact, the analysis found that only 6 percent of all higher-priced loans were made by CRA-covered lenders to borrowers and neighborhoods targeted by the CRA. This very small share makes it hard to imagine how CRA could have caused, or even contributed in a meaningful way, to the current crisis. Further support for this conclusion comes from our finding that serious delinquency rates for subprime loans are high in all neighborhood-income categories, not only those in lower-income areas, as might be thought if the CRA were a contributing force to the subprime crisis.
This was never anything more than an attempt by conservatives to shift the blame for the Republicans' atrocious stewardship of the economy to Bill Clinton.

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