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May 03, 2018

Report: Warren Buffett's mortgage companies busy in Philly, Camden – catering to white people

Business Race
Stock_Carroll - Rowhomes in Queen Village Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Colorful rowhomes in Queen Village.

More homebuyers in Philadelphia and Camden use Trident Mortgage Co. than any other company, but not many of them are African-American or Latino.

In Philadelphia, Trident made 1,721 conventional home purchase loans in 2015 and 2016, 47 of them to African-Americans and 42 to Latinos, according to an analysis of government lending data reviewed by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, and independently confirmed by the Associated Press.

A division of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. holding company, Trident has all of its offices in white neighborhoods, where it makes the overwhelming majority of its loans to white homebuyers, according to the Reveal report. Its team of mortgage consultants is nearly all-white, too.

The report also notes:

But as they’ve become major players in cities across America, Berkshire Hathaway’s affiliated mortgage companies have followed a consistent pattern. Government lending data reviewed by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting shows the companies direct their lending toward white borrowers and white neighborhoods, even in population centers such as Philadelphia where a majority of residents are people of color.
The analysis is part of Reveal’s ongoing coverage of modern-day redlining in America, which found 61 metro areas, from Jacksonville, Florida, to Tacoma, Washington, where people of color were significantly more likely to be denied a conventional home loan than their white counterparts. This was true even when people of color earned the same amount of money as white loan applicants, wanted to take on the same size loan or buy in the same neighborhood.

In February, a Reveal report under the headline "Kept Out" examined redlining, the practice of refusing a loan or insurance to someone because they live in an area deemed to be a poor financial risk, using Philadelphia as a case study. 

For more on the Buffet report, go to Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.