FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2022
Media Contact: IWoodruff@NationalFairHousing.org
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nikitra Bailey, Executive Vice President at the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), issued the following statement regarding Senator Sherrod Brown’s Fair Access to Financial Services Act of 2022:
“NFHA applauds Chairman Sherrod Brown and Senators Menendez, Cortez Masto, Booker, Van Hollen, Smith, Warren, Warnock, Sanders, Gillibrand, Padilla, Duckworth, Merkley, Whitehouse, Markey, Baldwin, Feinstein, Wyden, and Lujan for introducing the Fair Access to Financial Services Act of 2022. This important legislation fills a critical need by providing a private right of action to persons facing discrimination while banking. For too long, Black, Latino, AAPI, and Native communities have faced unfair and discriminatory treatment in the financial services sector. Communities of color deserve the dignity of banking free of discrimination.
“Systemic discrimination continues to plague financial services and rob families of color of the ability to build wealth on parity with Whites. Predatory lenders permeate neighborhoods of color that have been locked out of access to safe and affordable financial services. Banks close branches at higher rates in upper-income Black communities than they do in low-income White communities. Appraisal bias devalues the price of homes in communities of color, costing families billions annually. During the COVID pandemic, consumers of color were much less likely than White consumers to refinance their mortgage loans, missing out on historically low interest rates. Together these factors exacerbate existing racial wealth gaps and cheat communities of color of the ability to leverage financial services for long-term stability.
“While media reports on discrimination in banking highlight the impact on high-profile consumers, everyday people of color suffer the indignities of biased banking, too. These actions compound generations of unjust public accommodations that critical fair housing and lending laws were designed to address. By taking this action, these senators are providing to consumers of color the promise of our nation’s fair lending and anti-discrimination infrastructure: equitable treatment in the pursuit and usage of financial services.”
The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for all people. As the trade association for over 170 fair housing and justice-centered organizations and individuals throughout the U.S. and its territories, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.