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Economic crisis hurting minority credit scores

Jan 14, 2011 Brian Bradley

According to one community organization director, credit scores are harming one specific part of society - people of color. In a blog article for the Huffington Post, Preeti Vissa, the community reinvestment director at the Greenlining Institute, says that minority groups like Latinos and African Americans are often the targets of predatory lenders. As a result of many minority members taking on loans they can't afford, many have had their houses foreclosed on, which negatively effects a credit score. Vissa points to the fact that credit scores often ignore reasons for certain shortfalls, like shifts in the neighborhood or other things that are not the fault of those looking to obtain credit. What credit scores " don't do is account for changes in individual or neighborhood circumstances that may temporarily cause an otherwise responsible borrower to miss payments," Vissa wrote for the site. "And several indicators suggest that the current recession has had a disproportionate impact on minority communities." The recession has indeed been tough on many minority communities. According to the Department of Labor, the unemployment rate for African Americans stands at 15.8 percent, significantly higher than the national average of 9.4 percent.