Lenders' ability to offer more-flexible loan products has made increased minority homeownership possible, and curbing such programs would be counterproductive, according to James Ballentine of the American Bankers Association.In a speech June 15 at the ABA Regulatory Compliance Conference, Mr. Ballentine cited reports based on Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data that show a connection between risk-based pricing and higher rates of minority homeownership. "Risk-based pricing and flexible loan contracts have created more access to credit, but limiting these programs would damage the very borrowers that fair-lending statutes were intended to help," said Mr. Ballentine, director of grassroots and community outreach for the ABA. He cited a recent white paper by Michael Staten, a Georgetown University professor, that found a link between the emergence of the subprime market in the 1990s and the rise in the homeownership rate. Mr. Ballentine said statistics from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council indicate that from 1993 to 2003, home mortgages rose 357% for Hispanics, 206% for African-Americans, and 192% for Asians. The ABA can be found online at http://www.aba.com.

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