Cong. Black Caucus: homeownership key to minority wealth.

Author:Wisniowski, Charles
Position:Conference of mortgage banks

REP. MELVIN WATT (D-NORTH CAROLINA), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Washington, D.C., lauded mortgage lenders during a recent conference for their commitment to minority homeownership and the industry's efforts toward diversity. But, he said, much more work remains to be done.

Watt told attendees of the First Annual Mortgage Industry Diversity Conference in Arlington, Virginia, in October that the CBC remains committed to the removal of obstacles to home-ownership for minorities, including the elimination of disparities in mortgage lending.

"One might say that next to education, we value homeownership and fair lending and anti-predatory lending and anti-redlining and the information we get about these practices from the [Home Mortgage Disclosure Act] HMDA data ... We value that as much as We value anything in our agenda," said Watt.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 76 percent of whites owned their own home in 2004, compared with 49 percent of blacks and 48 percent of Hispanics. Watt noted that 61.8 percent of African-American wealth is invested in home equity, an important impetus in the CBC's efforts to boost minority homeownership.

"We don't own retirement accounts, we don't own stocks and bonds, we don't own other real estate--but the one thing we own in...

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