CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - If you are approved for a bank loan, then you may get the chance to live the American dream of homeownership. But a report by the Charleston Trident Urban League finds that African Americans in the tri-county are being denied loans from banks at more than double the rate than whites.
"What we have to do as a community is really go out and do outreach to show them why the statistics are why they are 3 to 1 ratio is not the best or 2 to 1 is not the best thing," George Bresnihan, CTUL Housing Services Director, said.
The report shows and bankers agree, it's not because of race that a percentage more blacks are denied loans, but the main factor is credit history.
"Right now for our lenders it is very high risk to do mortgage loans for any clients. We have to look not only at credit score but the entire credit report, credit profile," Jennifer France, Wells Fargo/Wachovia home mortgage consultant, said.
Other loan approval factors include debt to income ratio, employment history, collateral, and cash on hand.
It's not just a Charleston trend, the report says national trends also show that black homeownership lags behind those of whites. Trident Urban League wants more bankers to get on board with minority outreach programs, to help those who are afraid of taking this step.
"We can get the organizations to do some outreach and build confidence and show them how they can change those statistics," Bresnihan said.
Banks like Wells Fargo Wachovia already have a diversity program in place to help minorities be able to achieve the American dream.
"We are doing education classes, not only here is a mortgage, you can buy a house. We want to educate you also during the process, once you become a homeowner you'll be able to maintain that house, keep it, not go into foreclosure," France said.
Some things that a potential homebuyer will learn in education courses include debt management, budgeting, and step by step what each part of the home buying process is all about.
Trident Urban League also offers homebuyer education classes to help lower income families through the purchase process. The next class is on July 30th and it is free. To find out more on these classes go to www.ctul.org.