Letters

Martin Cohen, Vice President
Finance & Investor Relations,
Delta Funding Corporation
Woodbury, Long Island

Andrew White replies: Cohen's statistics lump together Delta's lending in 26 states. In 1997, in the New York City metropolitan region, just over half of the firm's mortgage refinancing loans went to low- and moderate-income homeowners. These borrowers have household incomes well below the metro region's median. This information comes from loan data provided by Delta to the U.S. government under mortgage-disclosure laws. The company's marketing clearly targets black communities, which is actually the point I made in the article. In 1997, nearly three-quarters of Delta's loans in the metro region were made to borrowers in majority-black census tracts. Only 1 percent of its loan applicants came from tracts that are mostly white. Furthermore, every one of two dozen recent Delta loans I examined had brokers' fees and "origination fees," which, combined, were greater than 10 percent of the loan's value. None had interest rates below 11 percent. More than half included penalty interest rates of 24 percent. As for Mary Ward's loan, Linwood Roberts, the broker who sold Ward the $82,500 Delta mortgage-and took a 10 percent commission in addition to Delta's $3300 fee-was a frequent marketer for Delta. In June, state regulators forced him to return his commission to Ward, and she used the money to pay legal bills to prevent foreclosure. Yes, she signed the loan papers, but there are two versions of the final, signed documents, each with identical fax time-and-date stamps. The dollar figure on the second, and official, version is obviously altered with white-out and pen.

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