| WASHINGTON, Sept 18
WASHINGTON, Sept 18 U.S. mortgage lending
increased by 38 percent last year, boosted by significant
refinancing activity, with white and Asian borrowers continuing
to enjoy greater access to credit for purchases than blacks or
Hispanics, regulators said on Wednesday.
Banks are required to disclose detailed lending data under
the federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act by March 1 of each
year, and regulators regularly provide an overview.
The data highlights how much historically low interest rates
have helped spur the recent U.S. housing market's rebound since
its 2006 collapse. However, borrowing costs have started to tick
up, raising fears that the market's momentum could soon stall.
"The total number of originated loans of all types and
purposes reported increased by about 2.7 million, or 38 percent,
from 2011, in part because of a 54 percent increase in the
number of refinancings," the report from the regulators said.
Home purchase lending also increased during the same period,
but by a more modest 13 percent.
The information collected by regulators is aimed at helping
them determine how consumers are faring in credit markets, and
whether any discriminatory lending patterns are emerging.
Data on home purchases showed that blacks and Hispanic
whites had "experienced higher denial rates than non-Hispanic
white applicants," the report said. The denial rate for Asian
applicants was "virtually the same as the corresponding denial
rate for non-Hispanic white applicants."
The same general pattern had been seen in prior years.
However, regulators cautioned that the data did not
necessarily "determine whether a lender is complying with fair
Higher denial rates could reflect variances in economic
circumstances and credit-worthiness, and further investigation
would be needed to determine if mortgage applicants were treated
fairly, the regulators said.
The 2012 data consists of loan information reported by 7,400
lenders, including all of the nation's largest mortgage
The data was released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp,
the Federal Reserve, the National Credit Union Administration,
the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Housing and