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<p>LOS ANGELES – Financial institutions that are minority owned and run are as likely as white-owned financial institutions to deny loan applications from minority applicants with marginal credit ratings, according to a study of 75 minority owned banks around the country. “Applicants with similar characteristics received the same treatment on average, regardless of the characteristics of the bank’s ownership,” the study reported. “This is consistent with the notion that bank underwriting standards are based on objective measures of risk and that more subjective factors which might come into play, such as cultural affinity, do not significantly influence underwriting decisions.” The study was conducted by Rapheal Bostic, Ph.D, an economist with the University of Southern California’s Lusk Center. Bostic was quick to point out that the study could not pick out individual cases and denied that the study in any way disproved the fact of individual incidents of discrimination. In media reports Bostic said the results of the study suggested that financial institutions and the government should use programs designed to help minorities improve their credit quality through financial counseling and education aimed particularly at minority high school and college students. Bostic’s study will appear in the Journal of Financial Services Research early next year.</p>

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