How a 40-year-old federal law is speeding gentrification

Clearly the buyers of those townhomes require incomes sufficient to afford mortgages of $800,000 or more. But under federal law, when the banks make those loans, they can claim credit for lending to the poor. And those outdated lending rules have created a situation in which, instead of making mortgages to the disadvantaged, federal law is actually fueling the gentrification of urban neighborhoods like Columbia Heights — and helping drive out the very residents the law was designed to protect.


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