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Hamline Law Review

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This symposium focuses on efforts to reform the secondary mortgage market in the aftermath of the most potent economic downturn in U.S. history since The Great Depression. One question posed at the symposium in several forms was whether low-income Americans should be encouraged to own a home. Implicit in this question is the idea that low­-income homebuyers were responsible for the losses that investors in mortgage-backed securities incurred. This question is part of a familiar narrative: investors in mortgage-backed securities suffered, and the economy suffered, because low-income homebuyers defaulted. My essay, however, looks beyond the alleged irresponsibility of homebuyers and considers the role that lenders played in precipitating the economic downturn. I explore how predatory mortgage lending changed African American communities and families.



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