An American investment bank has been accused of discrimination after announcing an initiative that will see first-time homebuyers be offered a mortgage without any down payment or closing costs, but only if they’re Black or Hispanic.
The scheme, expected to be trialed in Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Miami neighborhoods, is the first of its kind, intended to provide minorities with a chance to step onto the property ladder, but critics have slammed the bank for what some call its racist program.
Former Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes tweeted: “Hey Americans who happen to be white: You bailed out Bank of America when they (and every other big bank) nearly collapsed the economy. Now…BofA pays you back with an explicitly race-based lending program that overtly discriminates against white people. Had enough???”
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“Can someone explain to me how this isn’t racial discrimination?” asked author and Washington Times columnist Tim Young.
“So if you’re White, Asian, Indian, or Arab, you’re just shit out of luck?” asked former Commissioner of the New York Police Department Bernard Kerik.
The pilot scheme has been named the Community Affordable Loan Solution by the bank, which says that “homeownership strengthens our communities and can help individuals and families to build wealth over time.”
The bank claimed the program will “help make the dream of sustained homeownership attainable for more Black and Hispanic families, and it is part of our broader commitment to the communities that we serve.”
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In a press release announcing the plan, the bank did not address the obvious concerns of positive discrimination, or explain how disadvantaged White or Asian families could benefit from any similar scheme.
Under the program, prospective Black or Hispanic homebuyers will be able to acquire a mortgage without any down payment, no mortgage insurance, no closing costs, and no minimum credit score.
Eligibility will be assessed based on other factors such as a history of keeping up with rent payments and utility bills. Applicants are also expected to complete a homebuyer certificate course that will be provided by Bank of America and its partners before being approved for a loan.