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NEW JERSEY BANKING CHIEF ISSUES STATEWIDE DISCRIMINATION IN LENDING ADVISORY

 NEW JERSEY BANKING CHIEF ISSUES
 STATEWIDE DISCRIMINATION IN LENDING ADVISORY
 TRENTON, N.J., May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- New Jersey Banking Commissioner Jeff Connor today issued an advisory urging every lender in the state to take constructive actions to overcome any overt or unperceived racial disparities in lending practices.
 Connor developed the four-part advisory in response to data released by the Federal Reserve which indicated that lenders throughout the nation rejected minorities at a rate far greater than whites, even when both white and minority applicants had similar incomes.
 "Lenders in New Jersey and throughout the nation often hold the key to families and individuals reaching new plateaus of economic prosperity and security," Gov. Jim Florio said of the advisory. "I fully support efforts that help ensure the kind of opportunity New Jerseyans demand and, indeed, deserve."
 Connor said that although the data had some limitations, such as not explaining why the rejection disparity existed, the pattern was undeniably disturbing. "That is why I am issuing this advisory outlining steps lenders should take to address possible racial disparities in lending," he said in the advisory, which was mailed to every state and nationally chartered bank, savings and loan, credit union, mortgage banker and broker, and second mortgage lender in New Jersey.
 The advisory urges lenders to evaluate the credit analysis process, implement safeguards that will help prevent credit decision makers from basing any part of their decisions on race, install a safety net that provides for a double review process of all rejected applications, enhance community outreach efforts, and target lending to minority-owned small businesses and inner-city businesses in general.
 "Considering these factors in an honest assessment of your own organization's lending practices will go a long way toward integrating New Jersey's minority population into the mainstream of economic opportunity and prosperity," Connor said. "I hope that you will join with your colleagues in seriously attempting to demolish racial disparities in lending."
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 /Editors: Copies of Connor's advisory, or of a speech the commissioner gave on April 22 titled "Overcoming Racial Disparities in Lending," can be obtained by fax by calling Linda Crelin of the Department of Banking at 609-292-7000./
 /CONTACT: Christopher W. Cooney of the N.J. Department of Banking, 609-292-7001, or 609-397-4802/ CO: New Jersey Department of Banking ST: New Jersey IN: FIN SU:


MK-JS -- PH038 -- 9802 05/13/92 15:02 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 13, 1992
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