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Study Reveals Bias in Broker Fees

Report shows less-educated, minorities pay higher fees

July 28, 2003


All other things being equal, the mortgage brokerage fee paid might not be equal, according to a new study.

Consumer Confusion in the Mortgage Market, available on the Sand Hill Econometrics website, is an extensive analysis of 2,700 loans that were all table-funded by the same wholesale lender but handled by many different brokers.

According to the study, borrowers with a college degree pay on average $1,500 less in broker fees than their counterparts possessing only a high school diploma.

African-Americans pay on average $500 more than whites, and Hispanics average a $275 higher payment to their broker over whites, other factors being equal.

Mortgage brokers who are female average earning $570 less per loan they close, the study said.

These figures are based on the studied loans, which averaged broker fees of $2,425, according to the study.

Rolling all the costs in to the loan seems to benefit the borrower, on average by $900, the study revealed.

Another factor in consumer cost is the level of confusion the borrower brings to the table when negotiating the loan. According to the study, when rates rise, borrowers try to pay down their loan with points and that causes mistakes, to the tune of about $440 per rise in percentage points of mortgage rates.

Susan E. Woodward, who produced the report, is also the chairman of the board of Sand Hill. She has also worked as the chief economist of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the chief economist of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to Sand Hill's website.

Anne Lineberry is MortgageDaily.com's editor. She previously worked as an online editor/producer for DallasNews.com and on the Metropolitan desk for the print edition of The Dallas Morning News. Email Anne at [email protected]

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