Money Monday: The Gapsters

Discriminatory, economic systemic, and structural financial racism is the foundation for America’s wealth gap between Whites and Blacks. Unfortunately, these systems and structures continue to exist in 2022, resulting in the widening wealth gap instead of closing. I refer to these systems or structures as “The Gapsters!” They continue to enable, facilitate and foster the widening of the wealth gap.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 have not resolved Black economics. Let me explain it to you this way. Abolishing credit discrimination is not the same thing as providing credit. Ending job discrimination is not the same as lower unemployment or having jobs. Abolishing segregation does not result in integration. In other words, civil rights dreams still result in economic nightmares! If all you remember from the I Have a Dream speech in 1963 is: “I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” then you have missed it! Because in that same speech, Dr. King stated that they had come to the nation’s capital to cash a check. He further said, “It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a blank check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds. But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. “Let’s look at the Gapsters! Let’s talk Money Monday on the Zoom Conversation on February 28, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. Sign up at: https://bit.ly/TTCM_Feb2022

Realtors

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has an estimated 1.5 million members. To underscore my point, it was only within the last twelve to eighteen months that the NAR openly admitted its role in supporting real estate discrimination. Recently, as in a few months ago, the head of the NAR issued a Mia Copa on behalf of the industry in a Bloomberg Business Week article dated December 21, 2021, for past discriminatory practices, policy, and procedures. In her book Race Brokers: Housing Markets and Segregation in 21st Century Urban American, author Elizabeth Korver-Glenn shares an example of how discriminatory economics worked. She followed several White realtors for one year in Huston and found that they assumed White clients were wealthier and could provide them with more profits or commissions. White clients could pay more for homes, or their homes would sell for higher prices, in addition to which White clients required the least amount of work and fewer headaches. The result was that White clients received better services and options. White six percent commissions were valued over Black-owned lower-valued properties. Realtors, through the MLS system, control approximately eighty-nine percent of sellers’ real estate listing transactions in America. But the truth is that they’ve been Gapsters for many years. They have facilitated, enabled, and supported economic discrimination practices and policies within the real estate industry. To be clear, the NAR’s predecessor organization op-posed the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which barred discrimination in home sales.

Hear me clearly! In A.D. 2020, NAR, for the first time, developed a Fair Housing Action Plan. For the first time now, the NAR’s will hold real estate agents accountable for their fair housing obligations and work with state licensing laws. Since we know that homeownership is the most common way for people of color to build wealth, did you really think your realtor was or is “hooking you up”? Think again!

Banks and Lending Institutions

In December 2021, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ( CFPB) issued a report about banks, credit unions, and thrifts regarding mortgage services for borrowers enrolled in The CARES Act forbearance program. While the law prohibited mortgage servicers from imposing fees on those receiving forbearances, CFPB examiners found that mortgage servicers still charged borrowers default fees, late fees, and no refunds, if at all until one year later. If you were charged fees illegally, contact the CFPB for assistance.

Additionally, CFPB Examiners also found that there were discriminatory mortgage lending practices against Black women and African Americans when it came to granting them price-fixing exceptions. Mortgage price-fixing is a process of evaluating and determining what interest rate a lender may charge. If a borrower falls outside the lender’s perimeter, the lender can make an exception. The problem with exceptions is that the lender can charge higher interest rates, resulting in a higher risk of loan defaults. In this case, the CFPB Examiners found discriminatory practices against Black women in particular and people of color in general. These practices continue to expand the wealth gap instead of building wealth.

WHAT’S UP!

Today’s what’s up is about your credit. This is not an attempt to scare but more to inform and alert you to a simple fact that according to Identity Theft Source Center (ITRC), the number of data breaches was the highest in 2021. Identity Theft Resource Center was started in 1999 and is the only national non-profit in the U.S. to provide live, direct identity crime advice and victim assistance at no cost. What do I think? Request a credit freeze if you want to avoid certain identity fraud. How to get a credit freeze? Start by contacting each of the three major credit bureaus. TransUnion at 888-909- 8872 or www.transunion.com/freeze, Equifax at 888-298-0045 or www.equifax.com/freeze and Experian at 888-397-3742 or www.experian.com/freeze. Snail mail works too. You’ll have to provide information such as your Social Security number, birth date, and address, and the bureaus must freeze your reports within one business day of receiving your request by phone or online. And that’s what’s up! Let’s talk Money Monday fundamentals on the Zoom Conversation on February 28, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. Sign up at https://bit.ly/TTCM_Feb2022.

Ruthven R. Phillip, Esq., is a tax attorney, Stewardship and Philanthropy Ministry Assistant, and CEO of Give2Getrich, LLC. Give2Get Rich, LLC 2022. All Rights Reserved. Any distribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited.

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