According to a story in the New York Times, one of the nation's largest lenders is being sued by government officials in Tennessee for discrimination in mortgage lending. The suit charges that some silly loan agents stupidly steered minority borrowers into more expensive sub-prime and bad credit mortgages than white borrowers. Now (CYA disclaimer follows), this lender may or may not have committed discrimination. And most loan officers at this and other banks are probably not discriminating against applicants. But, it does happen. So how can you be sure that your lender isn't being dumb and discriminating against you? Actually, it isn't that hard.

Featured Home Equity Loan Provider
    • Get your Free Quote in Minutes!
    • Lenders Compete for your Business
    • Lock in a Low Fixed Rate Before Rates Increase!
    • Do you have the Lowest Rate Possible? Find Out Instantly!

Studies have shown that when discrimination appears in commerce, such as when car dealers offer better deals to white male buyers, it is often unconscious--on some level, the sales agent is deciding that the buyer is less educated or less assertive--less likely to know if he or she is being overcharged, and less likely to do something about it.

So what do you do? Well, you could buy some nerdy glasses and a monkey suit, borrow a BMW, stick your nose in the air, and run around saying things like "in the final analysis, I don't believe that you are offering me the most advantageous opportunity possible." Or you could just shop for your mortgage online.

Buyers who shop online are routinely perceived as being savvier and more assertive. Obviously, if you are comparing mortgage deals online you are a serious shopper, not to be taken lightly. And, even better, those who might want to discriminate don't know who you are, what you look like, or anything personal about you. To get a meaningful interest rate quote, all you have to provide is four pieces of information: Your credit scores, the value or sales price of the property, the size of your down payment, or the amount of the mortgage to be refinanced. The loan agent doesn't need to know if your name is Buffy, Jamal, or Hermosilla.

But if you want to call yourself Donald Trump while shopping for your mortgage it's okay by me.