FHFA adds to list of protected classes in inclusion rules

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The Federal Housing Finance Agency is amending its minority and women inclusion regulations aimed at providing equal opportunity to employees of entities it regulates.

The amended final rule calls for entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide equal opportunity regardless of employees' sexual orientation, gender identity and whether or not they are a parent, adding these categories to a list of other protected classes.

The rule, which also includes some other minor revisions, will take effect 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register.

Also on Thursday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found in a separate study on borrower inclusion that the gap between purchase loans made to blacks compared to whites is still wide, although it did narrow over the last five years in two counties.

The report suggests that in some parts of the market like these areas there could be slight improvement in the gap between white and black homeownership, which Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies recently found has been at its widest point since World War II nationally.

The Cleveland Fed report, which examined inclusion rates in Ohio's Cuyahoga County and Pennsylvania's Allegheny County, also found all low-to-moderate income borrowers are buying more in higher-priced neighborhoods rather than ones with prices that match their incomes.

Home Mortgage Disclosure Act statistics from 2015 show 52% of black LMI borrowers and 80% of white LMI borrowers purchased homes in higher-income neighborhoods that year, up from 22% and 71% in 2005.

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