Sally Santangelo, CNY Fair Housing’s executive director, said mortgage lenders are required to share data about who they are giving loans to.

The annual disclosures give insight into the racial composition of who is getting a loan.

“It allows us to look at issues with lending practices, issues with credit, issues with income to really help understand better what's going on in the housing market," Santangelo said.

What You Need To Know

  • A recent report from the New York State Department of Financial Services said examples of redlining were found in Syracuse, Rochester and on Long Island
  • “Redlining”, according to the department, refers to forms of illegal housing discrimination
  • Two mortgage lenders said they will improve their services

What the state’s Department of Financial Services found in a recent study is that mortgage lending in the Syracuse and Rochester metropolitan areas, as well as in Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, showed a “persistent lack of lending to people of color and in majority-minority neighborhoods."

“A lot of times people don't even know that they've faced discrimination," said Santangelo. "They go in and talk to a lender and they're told that their credit isn't good enough and maybe they do have some blips on the credit Where we see discriminatory practices is sometimes in the type of treat that somebody might get. Maybe somebody is pushed into a mortgage like an FHA mortgage or some other type of loan that's going to cost them more money.”

The state’s Department of Financial Services did not find fair lending law violations ​or evidence of intentional discrimination. Still, they said two mortgage lenders, 1st Priority Mortgage, Inc. and Premium Mortgage Corporation, are agreeing to “reform lending practices and implement programs to ensure better access to historically underserved communities in Western and Central New York.”

“Besides the lending disparities, people are facing trouble with even getting a purchase offer accepted, maybe because of the type of loan they have. People are struggling with maintaining their rent payments to even qualify, have the housing stability to qualify for a mortgage. So that those compounding of factors is really weakening people's, housing opportunity. So we're glad to see changes in business practices to help improve accessibility," Santangelo said.

Santangelo said there may be undercover investigations to see if people are treated differently when applying for a mortgage.

The state’s Department of Financial Services issued a report last year looking at redlining in the Buffalo metropolitan area ​and found a distinct lack of lending to minority homeowners there as well.

Specific lenders in that area also agreed to take steps to improve service the entire community.