A set of eight tests at auto dealers in Virginia found that just over half the time white buyers were offered better financing than non-whites even though the white buyers had worse credit scores, a consumer group reported Jan. 11.

The National Fair Housing Alliance based in Washington said its investigation shows the persistence of practices that create and sustain racial and ethnic wealth gaps in the United States.

The test design was modeled after one long used in the housing market. For each pair of tests, the shoppers were the same gender and close to the same age. In seven tests, the non-white shopper had a higher income. In the eighth test the non-white tester had a lower income, but also a lower debt-to-income ratio.

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