Asian-American Housing Group Launches Partnership to Address Inequities

The Asian Real Estate Association of America's agreement with Wells Fargo will feature events and other supports, responding to data showing racial disparities in homeownership. 

Last week, the Asian Real Estate Association of America announced that it has launched a strategic alliance with Wells Fargo & Company to address inequalities in home lending.

According to an AREAA press release, the goal of the alliance is to “focus on advancing sustainable homeownership, especially with first-time homebuyers and low to moderate-income Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities.”

Research from the National Association of Realtors shows that there are striking racial disparities in American homeownership. The ownership rate among white Americans is approximately 72 percent, while Asian homeownership is somewhat lower—62 percent. However, a recent AREAA white paper found those figures mask bigger inequities among particular Asian-American communities. “Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs) on average have loan profiles and homeownership rates that are comparable to their Black American counterpart (approximately 43 percent),” according to the white paper.

An AREAA white paper found broad inequities in homeownership among some Asian-American communities.

The release also notes that “Asian American homeownership rates in the middle- and lower-income levels are far below equal-earning non-Hispanic Whites and comparable to those of the Black and Hispanic communities.”

To help address these disparities, AREAA and Wells Fargo announced that it will collaborate on an Affordable Housing Symposium, which was held last week in Ontario, Calif., and featured speakers from Wells Fargo, Freddie Mac, and other experts, as well as congressional representatives. According to the release, Wells Fargo and AREAA also plan to host regional events on homeownership in areas with high concentrations of Asian-American residents.

“Owning a home is a primary driver of economic security and the cornerstone of the American Dream, yet access to affordable housing is a significant challenge in communities across the country,” said AREAA president Kurt Nishimura in the release. 

Wells Fargo’s engagement with AREAA comes on the heels of incidents where the bank has been criticized for biases in its mortgage practices. In early 2022, Bloomberg reported that Black patrons disproportionately had their loan and refinance applications rejected by Wells Fargo. The bank denied any claims of bias, while also announcing that it was dedicating $150 million to address racial inequality in homeownership. Earlier this year, the bank also struck a 10-year partnership with T.D. Jakes Group in which it will dedicate $1 billion to foster inclusive and affordable communities.

“We are proud to be working with AREAA to advance racial equity in home buying and provide Asian Americans with the resources they need to become mortgage ready and achieve the American dream,” said Valeria Esparza-Chavez, Head of Home Lending, Asian Segment, at Wells Fargo in the release. “We are committed to being a part of the solution and breaking down the systemic barriers that make homeownership more difficult to attain.”

(Nuttawan Jayawan/iStock)

Mark Athitakis

By Mark Athitakis

Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor for Associations Now, has written on nonprofits, the arts, and leadership for a variety of publications. He is a coauthor of The Dumbest Moments in Business History and hopes you never qualify for the sequel. MORE

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