Latinos Hardest Hit by Foreclosures in California

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LOS ANGELES--Latinos are the group hardest hit by California's real estate foreclosures. This is the result of a combination of buyers' ignorance, lenders' irresponsible and greedy practices, and rampant unemployment, according to an editorial in La Opinión.

An analysis conducted by the Center for Responsible Lending indicates that nearly 50 percent of foreclosed homes between 2006 and 2009 belonged to Latinos, despite the fact that they only represent 21 percent of all homeowners and are just a third of the adult population.

California's unemployment is at least 12.2 percent, and certain sectors with the largest presence of Latino workers have been hit especially hard, like construction. In the Central Valley, the region which has the highest number of foreclosures, bankruptcies are also rising fast.

Some financial reform measures have already been taken to prevent predatory lending and enhance financial literacy. Editors write that it is fundamental for immigrants to clearly understand the commitments they are assuming.

More complicated, though, is the refinancing of loans where homeowners owe more than the properties are worth. It will be even harder to create jobs to stabilize the financial domino effect.

Addressing these challenges, coupled with good financial education, will help us get through these tough times, editors write, and then hopefully keep them from being repeated in the future.