Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley's housing adviser told Congress on Tuesday that banks should be required to disclose the details of ethnic and racial patterns for their loans to small businesses and consumers, just as they do for home mortgage loans.
"Right now we have half the picture; we think the whole picture should be given to us," Michael Bodaken told the housing subcommittee of the Senate Banking Committee.
Congress should amend the Community Reinvestment Act, which requires lenders to meet the credit needs of local communities, to require publication of statistics on other kinds of loans, he urged.
This would make the law "more useful for the credit needs in neglected communities, such as South Los Angeles," said Bodaken, who is Bradley's housing and community reinvestment coordinator.
The law now requires banks, savings and loan associations and mortgage companies to provide details on the racial and ethnic makeup of the people who apply for home mortgage, refinancing and home improvement loans, the approval and denial rates, and the reasons cited by lenders for rejecting applications.
Bodaken said a city ordinance requires that financial institutions doing business with Los Angeles provide information on small business and consumer loans. However, he said federal law would be necessary to open the books of all lenders.