Getting a Boston condo mortgage can be a harrowing experience for anyone, but for those who don’t fit the middle-of-last-century stereotype of homeownership — white, married, heterosexual — the stress is amplified by the heightened probability of getting an unfair deal.
In 2019, African Americans were denied mortgages at a rate of 16% and Hispanics were denied at 11.6%, compared with just 7% for white Americans, according to data from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). An Iowa State University study published the same year found that LGBTQ couples were 73% more likely to be denied a mortgage than heterosexual couples with comparable financial credentials.
Last year, 98% of mortgages originated by Quicken Loans, the country’s largest lender, used the company’s digital platform, Rocket Mortgage. Bank of America recently adopted its own digital platform. And so-called fintech startups like Roostify and Blend have licensed their software to some of the nation’s other large banks.
Reducing — or even removing — human brokers from the mortgage underwriting process could democratize the industry. From 2018 to 2019, Quicken reported a rise in first-time and millennial homebuyers. Last year, Better.com said, it saw significant increases in traditionally underrepresented homebuyers, including people of color, single women, LGBTQ couples, and customers with student loan debt.