Home ownership People of color Real estate
Photo courtesy Zillow.com

Well, here is a favorable item regarding San Diego’s housing crisis.

The best city to apply for a mortgage loan if you are a Black resident is apparently San Diego.

This, according to a top 10 list compiled by 1-year-old data analysis startup FairPlay

The company said it used artificial intelligence to perform a detailed study of more than 23 million mortgage applications made by Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and women in 2021 to gauge how fairly each group was served by lending institutions.

Using the mortgage data, the company compiled Top 10 lists comparing regions of the country as well as the best lenders for the various protected groups.

Seattle and Portland followed up the top 10 list for Blacks at No. 2. And No. 3.

Nationally, Black home buyers were approved for mortgages at about 84% the rate of white home buyers — the highest rate ever, but still less.

But the news was not all good for Black homebuyers. They experience the lowest approval rates for mortgages in the South and the Midwest, as well as in rural areas.

“In this analysis, we’ve identified lenders who are successfully underwriting applicants from historically disadvantaged groups, to give more people a fair shot at achieving the American Dream,” said FairPlay CEO Kareem Saleh.

Hispanic homebuyers didn’t do as well here, the data study found. Surprising given our location close to the Mexican border, and our large Hispanic population.

Native American home buyers were approved for mortgages at 81.9% the rate of white home buyers. They experienced the lowest approval rates for mortgages in the Southwest, particularly in Arizona and New Mexico.

The region came in No. 7 on a list of the Top 10 Fairest Cities for Hispanic Homebuyers. Denver came in No. 1 on that list, while Boston came in at No. 10.

FairPlay was founded with the aim of reducing algorithmic bias for financial institutions in their automated decision-making systems.

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San Diego-based independent sustainable energy provider EDF Renewables said it has completed a major transaction in which Canadian-based Boralex has acquired EDF’s half ownership interests in five operating wind power projects boasting 447 megawatts in Texas and New Mexico.

EDF Renewables said in a news release that it put into service the five projects between 2014 and 2015. The company said sale “represents an integral part of EDF Renewables’ business model to facilitate a balanced portfolio and advance funding for new project development.”

EDF Renewables says it is a leading independent power producer and service provider with 35 years of expertise in renewable energy. Boralex is also an independent alternative energy producer.

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Lots of toys for lots of tots! San Diego Navy Federal Credit Union branches in their annual partnership with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, set a record for donations for the recent holidays.

This year, the credit union raised more than $33,000 in monetary donations and more than 22,000 donated toys.

The credit union said in a news release that its branches serve as the core of the campaign and drop-off locations for toys. Members and employees also had the option to donate online.

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Maritza Diaz, chief executive officer of San Diego-based ITJ, won silver in the category of Rising Star Executive at the recent virtual awards celebration in technology for women, minorities, and their allies.

The program, Women in Tech Global Awards 2022, was billed as the world’s largest community for women in tech with more than 6,000 ambassadors from 172 countries.

Diaz said she has made it her goal to support the growth and international competitiveness of San Diego’s life science and technology sectors.

Maritza said in the news release that she “is keen on reducing the gender gap in the workplace. ITJ currently holds a male-female ratio of 54%-46% in management.

ITJ says it serves fast-growing and high-value market sectors, particularly the internet of medical things, working with innovative medical device companies looking to improve people’s lives.

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And while we’re on the topic of medicine…San Diego-based Blacksmith Medicines and Forge Therapeutics, another local biotech startup, have agreed to merge with the goal of leveraging their chemistry platforms to discover and develop new drugs targeting a large class of proteins called metalloenzymes, with an initial focus on oncology and infection. 

Blacksmith said its platform “has been validated” through multiple pharmaceutical partnerships, including deals with bi pharma companies like Roche, Eli Lilly and Basilea, with the potential to earn more than $800 million

 in large payments plus royalties.

Blacksmith also says it boasts new oncology programs focused on novel synthetic lethality targets involved in the DNA Damage Response.

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A Cincinnati, Ohio, law firm — that city’s largest — is merging with a San Diego law firm, according to a local weekly business publication there.

The downtown Queen City firm, Dinsmore & Shohl, said it is merging with 54-year-old downtown San Diego’s Mulvaney Barry Beatty Linn & Mayers LLP law firm.

According to Dinsmore’s website, the merged firm will operate under the Dinsmore nameplate.

And according to the website, the merged firm will have more than 750 attorneys in 29 cities across the country.

Terms were not disclosed.

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The end of an era…Public radio and television broadcaster KPBS is reporting that 75-year-old foreign and art movie house Ken Cinema, located in the San Diego’s historic Kensington neighborhood, has been sold.

The theater has been shuttered for the past three years, vacated by operator Landmark Theatres at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the report.

The KPBS report said the owners of the new building will no longer operate the site as a movie theater.

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to tom.york@gmail.com.