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With Flagstar's NYCB Proposal Stalled & Talk of Fair Lending Action Irony of CRA Comment

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - CJR - PFT

SOUTH BRONX / SDNY, Oct 16 – Back in April 2021, Fair Finance Watch and Inner City Press predicted that the proposed merger of New York Community Bank and Flagstar would flounder, on disparate lending and regulatory evasions.

  Fair Finance Watch found that in 2019 Flagstar made 60,982 mortgage loans to whites, with 13,963 denial to whites - while making only 3799 loans to African Americans with fully 1777 denials to African American. This was significantly worse than other lenders.

  New York Community Bank's record as an enabler of and profiteer off slumlords led Inner City Press file a Community Reinvestment Act challenge to its then-proposed merger with Astoria Bank, which fell apart.

Now a year a half later, the proposed merger is still not done and the extended deadline is approaching, amid talk of, as we predicted, fair lending action.

Inner City Press has gone back to find Flagstar's comments on the proposed and still pending Community Reinvestment Act regulations - tellingly, full of resistance: "Because Flagstar supports the goals of the CRA, the Bank submits this comment letter to highlight concerns about the Agencies' proposed reforms to the CRA framework. This Proposal would undermine the objectives of the CRA and run contrary to the Agencies' stated effmts to ensure that the law continues to be an effective force for strengthening banks and the communities they serve, which j: intludes (i) low- and moderate-income ("LMI") individuals, families, and neighborhoods; (ii) small businesses and farms; and (iii) communities in need of financial services and economic development. Flagstar is particularly concerned about the proposed retail lending assessment area requirements, which would impose significant regulatory, operational, and staffing burdens on banks (especially when coupled with the proposed data collection requirements); force banks to spread limited CRA resources thin and undermine the effectiveness of their CRA programs; and place banks at a competitive disadvantage to nonbanks and other lenders not subject to the CRA. In our view, these challenges will discourage banks from engaging in retail lending and other CRA activities that could otherwise benefit local communities, contrary to the spirit of the law. Moreover, as applied to Flagstar, the proposed retail lending assessment requirements would be so overly burdensome and unworkable that they would likely cause us to question and rethink our business model. 1. There is insufficient data to justify abandoning longstanding interpretations of the CRA to require the delineation of lending-based assessment areas; Requiring the delineation of a lending-based assessment area would go beyond the text and purpose of the CRA." Yeah.

Both companies' stock prices are down. CRA and fair lending sometimes do have an impact. Watch this site.

 Watch this site.


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