Have Differences in Credit Access Diminished in an Era of Financial Market Deregulation?
Christian E. Weller
Over the past few decades, financial markets have become increasingly deregulated and household debt has expanded, sometimes rapidly. It is possible that greater deregulation led to improved credit access--measured by loan denials, discouraged applications, and costs of credit-- for typically underserved groups, such as minorities and low-income families, relative to their counterparts. Data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances however, shows no clear trend towards equalization of credit access from 1989 to 2004. While there were some gains by specific groups by certain measures (for example, the gaps in loan denials and discouraged applications improved for Hispanics, relative to Whites), the results indicate that differences in credit access did not decrease on a broad basis during a period of large scale financial deregulation.
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