Bank of America’s new home loan program is race-neutral, despite claims to the contrary
Bank of America unveiled a new lending program in black and Hispanic neighborhoods to boost homeownership where it is lagging.
Some of the news headlines made outlandish and unproven claims about the scope of the company’s program.
“Whites and Asians don’t need to apply,” said an August 31 article in Gateway Pundit, a conservative website. “Bank of America on Wednesday announced a new mortgage program for first-time home buyers. But only blacks and Hispanics will be eligible.
Gateway Pundit also shared the claim in a September 1 post on Instagram, and many commenters reacted in shock.
“The bank should be sued for discrimination! This is blatant racism,” one commenter replied.
“Let the prosecution begin,” said another.
The Instagram post – which was later edited – was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Learn more about our partnership with Meta, owners of Facebook and Instagram.)
We contacted the Gateway Pundit to ask if they had any information to back up the claim. The site did not return a request for comment.
Bank of America said the claim was false. Borrowers do not need to be black or Hispanic to qualify for loans. Any first-time home buyer can apply, regardless of race.
The bank’s affordable community lending solution offers mortgages with no down payment and no closing costs. The program is currently available in five markets, including specific black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles and Miami, according to a press release.
“Individual eligibility is based on income and place of residence,” the statement said.
The program aims to reduce racial gaps in home ownership. The National Association of Realtors reported that in 2020, white Americans had a homeownership rate of 72.1%; Asian Americans had a rate of 61.7%; Hispanic Americans had a rate of 51.1%; and black Americans had a rate of 43.4%.
The Gateway Pundit claimed that Bank of America “has announced a new mortgage program for first-time home buyers. But only blacks and Hispanics will be eligible.
The new program is available to all applicants, regardless of race. It is being introduced into black and Hispanic communities to boost home ownership among these racial groups, who are less likely than white or Asian Americans to own their homes. But any first-time home buyer can apply, regardless of race.
We rate this claim as false.
This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact, part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for this fact check here and more of their fact checks here.