District 37
Wyckoff Heights, Cypress Hills, East New York

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District 37 - Erik Martin Dilan
387 Arlington Avenue, Brooklyn 11208
City Hall: (212) 788-7284/85
District: (718) 453-4674
Fax: (212)788-8941

Committee Assignments:
Aging, member
Economic Development, member
Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse & Disability Services, member
Parks & Recreation, member
State & Federal Legislation, member

Fighting Predatory Lending

By Erik Martin Dilan

Anyone who has looked for a place to live in New York recently knows all too well that housing is at a premium. With the demand for apartments far exceeding the supply, rents have risen to exorbitant levels. Faced with skyrocketing rents, many people in working class communities, such as the one I represent in Northeast Brooklyn, choose to buy a home and fulfill a life-long dream of home ownership. Unfortunately many of these first-time buyers know little about getting a mortgage and can fall prey to so-called predatory lenders.

Predatory lending is the practice of offering loans with concealed fees and inflated rates, often to people who are unable to get a loan elsewhere. Subprime lenders, those who target customers that are a high credit risk, are most likely to make such loans. As the homeowner becomes unable to pay their mortgage, they may even lose their homes. Such foreclosures can devastate the morale of a community and have a detrimental affect on property values of a neighborhood.

The number of subprime lenders has increased even more rapidly than New York City rents, with the industry growing almost tenfold since 1993. These lenders are most likely to offer loans in lower income communities, where foreclosure rates tend to be high, and in communities of color. According to a recent study by the New York City Human Rights Commission, 55 percent of mortgages issued in the largely Latino and African-American Cypress Hills portion of my district were from these high-risk lenders. In neighboring Ridgewood and Glendale, Queens, subprime loans represent only 25 percent of all mortgages.

Public awareness is key to stopping this practice since lenders take advantage of consumer ignorance. An educated consumer is the worst customer for a predatory lender because they know to go elsewhere. According to a Fannie Mae study, 35 to 50 percent of borrowers could have qualified for a conventional mortgage -- at a lower rate or without the onerous terms and fees.

But government action is also needed to put a halt to predatory lending.

That is why I and other members of the City Council, as well as the public advocate, have sponsored a bill that would prohibit the City of New York from doing business with banks or lending institutions that that conceal fees in their loans. Although the state regulates banking, this legislation calls on the City of New York to ensure compliance, through the comptroller's office and relevant city agencies, such as the Department of Finance.

The ripple effects of consumer ignorance and dishonest business practices in the home mortgage market reach far into the very fabric of our communities. We must act to keep the American dream from becoming a nightmare for the homebuyers of our city.

Posted April 29, 2002

Erik Martin Dilan is City Council Member-Elect from District 37.

Community Boards for District 37

Community Board No. 4
315 Wyckoff Ave., 2nd Fl., Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 628-8400
Ms. Anna Gonzalez, Chair
Ms. Nadine Whitted, District Manager
Community Board No. 5
127 Pennsylvania Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11207
(718) 498-5711
Mr. Earl Williams, Chair
Mr. Walter Campbell, District Manager

Community Plans for District 37 (PDF format)
Environmental Restoration Plan (Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council)

Ethnic Makeup and Political Registration

Ethnic Makeup

Political Registration

Public Schools

Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

High Schools

To find out what school district you live in, call the Board of Education at 718-935-2000 or link to Public School Reports

Police Precincts

Although many precincts cover areas solely within one City Council district, there are many which overlap with other districts. In most cases the overlap of precincts among districts is no more than a few blocks. Wherever there is overlap, we have made sure to alert you.

City Parks
Click thumbnail for larger image of parks in this district

Learn more about the condition of the city parks in your district at the New Yorkers for Parks (PDF file).

Community Gardens

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Find out more about community gardens from
the Council on the Environment of New York City

Historic Districts and Landmarks
Learn more about the historic districts and landmarks in this area.

The Waterfront

map listing suggestions for use and improvement of the waterfront in this district from the Metropolitan Waterfront
Alliance. (pdf format only)