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Mortgage lenders serving Black borrowers

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Mortgage lenders with Black leadership or that serve Black communities play a critical role in expanding access to homeownership for Black Americans. Many are banks or credit unions that also support Black borrowers throughout their financial lives.

Along with facilitating access to loans and representing the larger community, Black-focused mortgage lenders protect this access during periods of economic strife. During the Great Recession, loan originations for home purchases by Black borrowers declined 69 percent, but originations out of Black banks to this group rose by 57 percent, according to the Urban Institute.

Looking at homeownership by race, Black households have held the lowest rate for some time, most recently at 45.3 percent, according to Census reporting. In 2019, the average Black family had just 17 cents for every dollar the average white family had, research shows. Given the equity-building power of homeownership, closing this wealth gap relies significantly on addressing obstacles in the homebuying process, including when it comes to obtaining financing.

5 Black-focused mortgage lenders

1. Legacy Home Loans

The first led by and for African Americans, Legacy Home Loans is a nonbank mortgage lender that aims to build wealth in Black communities through homeownership, with the goal of $1 billion in home loans to African American borrowers. The lender is led by longtime mortgage professional Ben Slayton, the first Black Realtor in the U.S., and serves borrowers in the majority of states (with the exception of Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia). Currently, it has 10 branch locations, and plans to continue to expand its footprint in major markets where at least one-quarter of the population is African American, home sales average $150,000 and families there have a median income of $50,000.

What to know: You can begin the application process with Legacy Home Loans via the lender’s online portal or app, which sends updates and allows you to upload documents, estimate payments and communicate with your loan officer. The lender can provide a preapproval in 24 hours, and often the same day as you apply.

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2. OneUnited Bank

OneUnited Bank is the country’s largest Black-owned bank, providing banking and lending services online and through branch locations in California, Florida and Massachusetts. The bank’s mission is to leverage the buying power of the Black community to support justice and equity. Among its financial products, it offers mortgages, including the UNITY Home Loan for first-time homebuyers — these are available to borrowers in select counties in California, Florida, and Massachusetts. Currently, the bank is covering the cost of an appraisal and credit check, so you won’t be charged these fees at closing.

What to know: On the OneUnited website, you can see current mortgage rates for 10-year, 15-year and 30-year fixed-rate loans, as well as initiate a request for a custom rate quote or apply directly for a loan. You can also contact one of four loan consultants for more information and to learn your options.

3. Columbia Savings & Loan Association

Columbia Savings & Loan Association has served Milwaukee, Wisconsin, since 1924, with an emphasis on the inner-city minority community. Its offerings include loans such as mortgages and personal loans and investment products such as certificates of deposit (CDs) and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). The institution aims to educate borrowers while providing the lowest possible rates.

What to know: Columbia Savings & Loan Association is open Monday through Friday during business hours. You can begin exploring mortgage options via phone or by visiting its Milwaukee location.

More: Financial support for Black-owned businesses

4. The Harbor Bank of Maryland

The only Black-owned bank in Maryland, Harbor Bank of Maryland offers banking products and services to Baltimore-area customers, as well as mortgages in partnership with SWBC Mortgage Corporation; home equity lines of credit (HELOCs); and home equity loans. Its mortgages are for both home purchase and refinances. The bank’s mortgage division was the first in Maryland to receive funding through the federal Community Development Financial Institution program.

What to know: You can apply for a mortgage through Harbor Bank of Maryland online, or by email or phone or by visiting a branch. The bank has eight branches, including one in Silver Spring that houses its loan production department.

5. Greater Kinston Credit Union

Founded in 1952, Greater Kinston Credit Union caters to the financial needs of Kinston, North Carolina, which has a broad African American population, and surrounding communities. It offers 10-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages for up to $125,000, as well as five-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) for up to $225,000. Notably, the credit union doesn’t charge application or credit check fees (there is an origination fee, however) and doesn’t require private mortgage insurance (PMI) payments.

What to know: To be eligible for membership with Greater Kinston Credit Union, you must live, worship, work or attend school in Lenoir, Greene, Jones, Craven or Pitt counties. The credit union is owned by its members and governed by a board of directors. You can view current mortgage rates on the Greater Kinston Credit Union website.

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Written by
Ruben Caginalp
Associate writer
Ruben Çağınalp is an associate writer for Bankrate, focusing on mortgage topics.
Edited by
Mortgage editor