Navy Federal Credit Union denied over half of its Black mortgage applicants

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Navy Federal Credit Union, the nation’s largest credit union, approved mortgages for White borrowers at a much higher rate than their Black counterparts, according to a CNN analysis.

In 2022, the credit union approved over 75 percent of white applications for a new conventional home purchase mortgage while only approving less than 50 percent of the Black borrowers who applied for the same loan.

The nearly 29 percent gap in approval between white and Black applicants is the largest disparity among major US lenders. According to the CNN analysis, the disparity was still present among white and Black applicants who had similar incomes and debt-to-income ratios. Navy Federal Credit Union also approved more applications from White borrowers making less than $62,000 a year compared to Black borrowers making more than $140,000.

Further analysis by CNN found Black applicants were more than twice as likely to be denied than their white counterparts when more than a dozen variables, including income, debt-to-income ratio, property value, downpayment percentage, and neighborhood characteristics, were the same.

Navy Federal spokesperson Bill Pearson denied allegations of racial discrimination in its lending practices.

“Navy Federal Credit Union is committed to equal and equitable lending practices and strict adherence to all fair lending laws,” Pearson said in a statement. “Employee training, fair lending statistical testing, third-party evaluations, and compliance reviews are embedded in our lending practices to ensure fairness across the board.”

Pearson claimed that CNN’s analysis “does not accurately reflect our practices” because it didn’t take into account “major criteria required by any financial institution to approve a mortgage loan,” including “credit score, available cash deposits and relationship history with lender,” he said.

The above information isn’t available in the public mortgage data and the credit union declined to release additional data.

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