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Think tank Demos and the NAACP Economic Department collaborated to survey moderate-income American households with credit card debt for the study. Black Americans weren’t any more likely than whites to be late on a payment, the survey found, and they were also no more likely than whites to declare bankruptcy or get evicted.
But what black Americans do tend to have on the unfortunate side, according to research, is lower credit scores than white Americans; and the financial crisis didn’t make this gap any smaller – with lenders targeting blacks during the housing boom; offering loans with higher interest rates that were more likely to default.
“African-American households are more likely to have been called by bill collectors because they are more likely to have blemishes on their credit history that would send debts to collection agencies,” Catherine Ruetschlin, an author of the Demos report, wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. Of course the credit collectors disagree.
Mark Schiffman, a spokesperson for ACA International, a trade association of third-party debt collectors, defended his industry as “color-blind.” “They [the third-party agencies] don’t get into the ethnic information,” he told HuffPost. “Their job is to collect the debt, not give out the credit.”