Leaning On Banks About Bias

SOME BIG BANKS ARE FEELING the heat in Washington. An analysis of mortgage data for the nation's capital from 1990 to 1993, released Dec. 13 by the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs, found evidence of racial bias in lending. NationsBank's mortgage unit and Citibank topped the list, turning away black loan applicants five times more often than white ones. NationsBank Senior Vice-President Catherine Bessant calls the study "misleading," since it covered only the bank's mortgage company. Citibank says it has improved minority lending in the D.C. area since 1993.

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