By J. Scott Trubey

The housing market, which helped pull the economy into recession, is slowly gaining momentum, but credit standards remain too tight and could be constraining the recovery, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday at a conference in Atlanta.

At the Operation HOPE Global Financial Dignity Summit, Bernanke also said the economic collapse disproportionately hurt lower-income people and minorities, and “policymakers must take into account how their decisions affect the least advantaged, not just the economy as a whole.”

The Augusta-born Bernanke said the recession has undone 15 years in homeownership gains in minority and low-income communities, and new home loan originations since the recession have fallen to a greater degree in nonwhite and lower-income neighborhoods.

Poor lending standards contributed to the economic collapse, and tightening standards in response was appropriate, Bernanke said, but it appears “the pendulum has swung too far the other way,” denying some creditworthy borrowers.

Bernanke said regulators would continue to examine ways to broaden credit availability, a theme of the two-day conference.

Rad the complete story here at the AJC.


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