Leeann Hall, Applied Research Center board member and director of the Alliance for a Just Society, turned me on to this important report from the Showdown in America folks about credit segregation. Many long-time Colorlines and ARC friends are involved in this coalition that’s pushing back against the immoral, wrong headed and just plain greedy behavior of the financial industry. It’s a relief to see the Showdown recognize the racial dimensions of the credit crisis.
Their research shows that banks are pulling good credit services out of black and Latino communities, replacing them with more and more of those payday shops that’ll lend you a little money against your coming check, and then charge interest up to 911 percent for a one week loan. Yes, I wrote that, 911 percent. Gives 911 a whole new meaning. The study also found that:
The nation’s leading banks refinanced homeowners in predominately white areas at 6.5 times the rate as they did for homeowners in communities of color.
Midwestern African American and Latino communities have three times as many payday lenders as neighborhoods when compared to predominantly white communities.
An interesting aside: A principal player in Showdown is National Peoples’ Action, an alliance of community organizations founded in 1972 with an historic allergy to any real racial analysis. Director George Goehl has done a lot to put racial justice into the center of their program, which puts him into the category of White Men I Appreciate.
Rinku Sen is publisher of Colorlines.com and executive director of our parent organization, the Applied Research Center.