Should Blacks Apply for Mortgage Loans at the End of the Month?

A new paper studies mortgage loan approval rates for white and blacks. “In the first seven days of the month, Black applicants have 20 percentage point lower approval rates than white applicants. The approval gap declines to just 10 percentage points on the last day the month,” as shown in the figure below. Why? The authors examine the hypothesis that this occurs because loan officers have monthly volume quotas, which gives “them less scope to apply subjective preferences” at the end of the month. They calculate “an upper bound for the costs of discrimination”: “if the Black approval gap on each day of the month was as small as it was on the last day, approximately 1.4 million more Black applicants would have been approved between 1994 and 2018,” corresponding to over $200 billion in total loan volume.  

The figure reports approval rates, which we define as the fraction of loans that are originated out of the total number of applications (excluding withdrawn applications). We present the difference between the Black approval rate and the white approval rate on each day.

Posted by at 1:02 PM

Labels: Global Housing Watch


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