Michael Lyle, Nevada Current
January 12, 2024
Nevada Congressional members are calling for an investigation into Navy Federal Credit Union, the nation’s largest credit union for service members, after reports found it rejected nearly half of its Black and Hispanic mortgage applications.
The Congressional Black Caucus, which is chaired by U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, sent a letter to the credit union Friday asking why it “approved a higher percentage of applications from white borrowers making less than $62,000 a year than it did of Black borrowers making $140,000 or more.”
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto joined several Democratic senate colleagues on Thursday in asking the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate the racial gaps between white, Black and Hispanic applicants.
“When denial rates for Black and Hispanic applicants at one institution appear to be drastically higher than the national average and higher than their rates for similarly situated white borrowers, it raises questions about whether its mortgage lending practices comply with federal fair housing and fair lending laws and regulations,” the group of senators wrote.
A recent CNN investigation found the Navy Federal Credit Union approved more than 75% of white applicants who applied for home mortgages in 2022.
Around 49% of Black borrowers were approved for the same type of loan while nearly 56% of Latino applicants were approved.
An estimated 27,000 Nevada service members are part of Navy Federal.
Lawmakers requested the credit union to explain what steps it is taking to get to the root cause leading to its discrimination and to what extent it evaluates underwriting policies to reduce racial lending disparities.
“Navy Federal should explain its increasingly widening racial lending gap and how more than half of the Black service members, veterans, and their families who applied for a conventional mortgage in 2022 were rejected and denied homeownership and wealth building opportunities,” according to the letter from the Congressional Black Caucus.
In a statement, Navy Federal said it has “initiated a review to assess our mortgage lending policies and practices.”
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