Center of Responsible Lending

The Center for Responsible Lending is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that works to protect homeownership and family wealth by fighting predatory lending practices.

Preserving the American Dream of Homeownership

As the nation’s housing market continues its strides towards full recovery, both borrowers and lenders wanted better legal protections from further financial harms. The new mortgage rules that take effect January 10 provide a balance between protections and assuring broad access to credit.

Beyond these key rules, CRL will continue to work with regulators, lawmakers and allies to ensure that homeownership remains a viable vehicle to build family wealth. Our research that tracks market changes will remain the factual basis for our continued policy advocacy to further strengthen fair and sustainable home loans.

What Are The Problems?

Now that Dodd-Frank rules are in place, many of the lending abuses that caused the housing crisis are now illegal. The most pressing problem today is the stagnant housing market. There are three distinct issues.

  • The continuing flood of foreclosures
  • Lending that is too restrictive for qualified working families
  • Ensuring that lenders have capital to make mortgages, i.e., the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Mortgages of the Future

The issues policymakers are debating today will determine the shape of the mortgage loan market for years to come. Some of the central issues before us include the fate of the government-sponsored enterprises (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), down payment requirements (defining “qualified residential mortgages”) and the future of the Federal Housing Agency (FHA).


  • 61% of subprime loans made in 2006 went to people with credit scores high enough to qualify for a loan with better terms.
  • For many loan types, borrowers of color were 30% more likely to receive a higher-rate loan than white borrowers, even after accounting for income and credit.
  • Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac financial losses came mostly from “Alt-A” mortgages, non-traditional loans which are not connected with affordable housing.
  • 94% of subprime loans were made by entities not subject to requirements under the Community Reinvestment Act.
  • Since early 2007 more than 7.5 million homes have entered the foreclosure process.
  • Amherst Securities projects that more than 10 million foreclosures are still ahead.
  • One out of every five homeowners is at serious risk of foreclosure.
  • White homeowners have experienced the majority of foreclosures, but African Americans and Latinos are affected disproportionately.
  • American homeowners have lost 1.86 trillion in home equity, about $20,000 per household.
  • CoreLogic reports nearly 11M homes—22.5% of households with a mortgage—are underwater, owing more than the home is worth.
  • With the new Dodd-Frank rules, lenders must now consider a borrower’s ability to repay a mortgage before approving the loan.
  • Regulators are considering rules that would require borrowers to put down as much as 20% when buying a home.
  • Based on median salaries, an elementary school teacher would need nearly 20 years to save enough to make a 10% down payment on a median-priced home.


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