A new report from the non-profit watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics found that Jewish institutions, including major banks and real estate agents, have borrowed a combined $4.4 billion from homebridge, a financial services company that is part of the New York-based home-equity firm.
It was the largest category of loans, with $3.7 billion in the third quarter, followed by mortgage brokers and lenders.
Homebridge, which has a headquarters in Brooklyn, has been under scrutiny by lawmakers and consumer advocates in recent months for allegedly not disclosing financial risk to borrowers.
In July, a federal appeals court struck down a regulation requiring that mortgage brokers disclose their risk profiles to borrowers before they accept them.
It also ruled that Homebridge must pay $8.3 million to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in an antitrust suit.
But the report found that homebridge has not disclosed that risk information to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, a regulatory agency, in recent years.
The agency said in a statement that it “is reviewing the report’s findings.”
The report comes as Congress is poised to vote on the mortgage-reform bill that was unveiled in August, and the White House is trying to tamp down on any public criticism of the industry.
The bill includes a provision that would prohibit the housing finance industry from paying fees to any financial services firm that receives government contracts, including home-insurance companies, which have received billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies.
The legislation also would prohibit lenders from charging interest rates above 20% on mortgages.
The watchdog group said it has also examined Homebridge’s loans to see whether the company has engaged in deceptive practices.
The report, which was based on data from the Financial Disclosure Report, a website run by the watchdog group, found that at least $2.4 million in home-assistance loans from Jewish institutions were serviced by Homebridge.
The largest mortgage-backed securities companies were not included in the analysis.
Homebase was the company that received the largest amount of money, with more than $2 billion in loans.
The most recent figures from the National Association of Realtors show that Homebase is the top lender to Jewish households.
It’s a division of New York City-based CitiGroup, which in 2017 had about $1.4 trillion in assets under management.
Homebrokerage, which had about a third of the total mortgage portfolio, was the next most popular lender, with about $3 billion.
Homebank, which is part-owned by Citi Group, was next with about two-thirds of the portfolio.
Homecredit was the second-largest lender in the report, with less than $1 billion in assets.
The financial-services companies in the category were Ally Financial Services, which provided about $400 million, and Mortgage Bankers Association of America, which received about $500 million.