| Program: || Cleveland Residential Housing and Mortgage Credit Project, Cleveland, OH |
| Contact(s): || Dr. Barbara Grothe, Program Manager, Greater Cleveland Roundtable: (216) 579-9980 |
| Purpose: || To identify and address discrimination in home buying in the Cleveland metropolitan area |
Following the release of a major study in Boston that documented discriminatory practices in mortgage lending, major business organizations in the Cleveland area established a program to reduce barriers to racially equitable home ownership for the entire Cleveland metropolitan community. The Greater Cleveland Roundtable--a network of community, civic, and business leaders from the metropolitan area--met with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the Cuyahoga County Department of Development, and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to initiate a four-year series of meetings and programs for institutions that provide home ownership opportunities to the minority community. Through the Cleveland Residential Housing and Mortgage Credit Project, local bankers, realtors, appraisers, insurers, and others involved in the home mortgage market area agreed to attempt to eliminate barriers and improve race relations.
At the first meeting of the Cleveland Residential Housing and Mortgage Credit Project, approximately 100 key industry representatives agreed to cooperate to reduce racial differences and barriers in the home buying process. Seven task forces were formed to reduce racial differences in the treatment of minority applicants in such areas as appraisals, property insurance, and lending. The project operates with minimal direct funding, but has obtained substantial in-kind staff support from the Greater Cleveland Roundtable, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the Cuyahoga County Department of Development, and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
Two major results have emerged since the program's inception. First, industry groups now have close, direct relationships on the issues of fair and equal treatment in mortgage lending. Second, professional training programs for lenders, real estate agents, and appraisers were developed. The work of the coalition which supported the project is an example of a local activity in which the leadership of a major city addressed the issue of racial discrimination without the presence of litigation or controversy. Following the Cleveland initiative, six additional local Federal Reserve Banks have adopted this model for addressing racial divisions. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Bank is currently considering holding a major conference in Spring 1998 to recommend ways of expanding the project into a national initiative.