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HousingWire's 2021 Spring Summit

We’ve gathered four of the top housing economists to speak at our virtual summit, a new event designed for HW+ members that’s focused on The Year-Round Purchase Market.

An Honest Conversation on minority homeownership

In this episode, Lloyd interviews a senior research associate in the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute about the history and data behind minority homeownership.

Politics & MoneyMortgage

Trump appointee resigns from CFPB after blog posts spark investigation

Eric Blankenstien will leave the bureau at the end of the month

A senior official at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau whose racially charged blog posts sparked outrage at the agency last year is resigning.

In an email to colleagues, Eric Blakenstein said he is stepping down from his post to pursue an unnamed opportunity elsewhere, The Washington Post reported.

Blankenstein found himself in hot water after blog posts from his past were unearthed that expressed controversial views on hate crimes and the n-word.

Blogging in 2004 under an assumed name, Blakenstein questioned whether the n-word was inherently racist and claimed that the great majority of hate crimes were actually hoaxes.

Blankenstein was appointed by Trump to the CFPB and, as one of the highest-paid employees in the government, was responsible for supervising lenders and enforcing laws that include protecting minorities from discriminatory practices and promoting fair lending.

The discovery of his controversial posts led to an uproar of protests from staffers at the bureau.

“The tone and framing are deeply disturbing to me as a woman, African American, advocate for LGBTQ rights, and human being,” Patrice Ficklin, a career staffer and director of the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity, wrote in an email to hundreds of agency employees.

The backlash didn’t stop there.

Shortly after the posts came to light, Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, and Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, called for Blankenstein’s termination, which then prompted Mick Mulvaney, who was CFPB acting director at the time, to request that an independent government watchdog to review the situation.

In an effort to quell the backlash, Blankenstein penned a letter to the agency expressing regret for his “poor judgment” and word choice.

“Do I regret some of the things I wrote when I was 25 – relatively fresh out of college and not yet even thinking about applying to law school – that I wouldn’t write today? Absolutely,” Blankenstein wrote. “I recognize that many of you had a visceral, negative reaction to reading what I wrote in some of my old blog posts. I did too.”

But apparently, that was not enough to undo the damage, and Blankenstein opted to find employment elsewhere.

Sen. Waters released a statement applauding the news.

“I am pleased to see that he will soon be departing from a job he was clearly unqualified for,” Waters said. “The Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity is a critical division of the Consumer Bureau that has been significantly weakened under the leadership of Trump appointees, and it comes as no surprise that the agency has not issued one public fair lending enforcement action since the departure of Director Cordray.”

 

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