Conventional mortgage lenders increased their penetration of low-income neighborhoods in 2003, while originations of government-backed loans was relatively flat, according to the latest Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data.Conventional loan applications in low-income census tracts jumped 32.2%, from 117,187 loans in 2002 to 154,910 loans in 2003. Overall, home purchase applications increased by 10% in 2003. Meanwhile, conventional loan applications in moderate-income census tracts jumped 47.7%, from 643,881 loans in 2002 to 938,156 loans in 2003. "Adjusted 2003 data show that low- and moderate-income census tracts taken together experienced the largest increase (16%) in home purchase lending," the banking regulators said, compared with a 9% increase in middle- and upper-income census tracts. Meanwhile, conventional and government-backed home purchase lending was up 16% for Asians, 18% for Hispanics, 15% for blacks, and 11% for whites. Native Americans experienced a 5% decline in 2003.

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