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How to Identify LMI-CRA Opportunities
How to Identify LMI-CRA Opportunities

Use MarketSmart to identify which tracts are eligible for LMI under CRA and Fair Lending regulations.

Written by Laird Nossuli
Updated over a week ago

Watch the video here:


Welcome to Mortgage MarketSmart. In this training video, we're going to focus on using the tool for a real life use case. Specifically, how to create CRA and LMI maps.

From your dashboard click on start a project. You'll notice you'll have a blank map. Click on add layer and then add data layer. The layer name is going to be GA Atlanta 20 D, which stands for 2020 dollars, CT, which stands for by census tract. Feel free to use your own shorthand in naming these layers. Now, the attribute we're going to view is all purchase dollars. And make sure to click on it when it pops up. The attribute year is going to be 2020 and the location type is going to be census tract. I'm going to click on MSA because I want to see the MSA of Atlanta by census tract. So click on Atlanta, click save, and the map draws the Atlanta MSA. So in order to zoom in, I'm going to hold the shift key and the left mouse button and simply drag across the map in order to zoom in. I then let go of the left mouse button and we have zoomed in successfully.

As you can see, we are showing our forecast for 2020 purchase volume in terms of dollars for the Atlanta market at the census tract level. Right now, I'm going to change how many buckets there are. Currently there are eight. And I'm going to show you how to change that number. I'm also going to show you how to change the color scheme. So simply click on the layer name and click on theme, and for the break count, which really stands for the number of buckets, select six. And then instead of the heat map color theme, we're going to just choose dark red. Once you're done, click apply, and you'll notice the map has changed colors. There are now six categories instead of eight.

To add the census tract, the CRA census tract eligible layer, simply click on this layer to close it. And we're going to add another layer. So click add layer and then add, and then data layer. The layer name is going to be GA Atlanta CRA CT Opportunity. And the attributes we want to view all purchase loans. Then click on it for 2020. And then location type is, again, census tract, but we're going to pick the MSA and we're going to call this MSA Atlanta. We click on it and save it.

So now this is the same color theme we just had. You can notice that I can toggle the map on and off, or that layer specifically on and off, by clicking on the eye button to the left of the layer name. So if I make this one invisible and then this one invisible, we're left with an empty map, but then I'm going to click on this again to show this.

Here what I'm going to do is click on the down arrow and then click on view data. Essentially, this is taking us to the spreadsheet view. Each map we have is steeped in data in the backdrop. So from here, we see that we're showing the first 10 census tracts of all 951 in the Atlanta market. So we simply click on add filter. And what we want to do here is select the filter field, which just means, hey, which column contains the CRA eligible flag. We can tell that it's this one. So in select filter field, I'm going to click on the down arrow and select CRA eligible. Then in the comparison, I'm going to select equals. And then in the filter value, I'm simply going to type in one. Once I'm happy with my filter, I can click on apply, and you'll notice that we're going from 951 total census tracts to 353 CRA eligible census tracks.

So then to go back to the map, I simply click on the map button, and we can see that our layer has been filtered to just show the 353 CRA eligible census tracts. Now, at this point, we're showing the opportunity in the census tracts, but there's a neat trick where if we actually save this layer as its own market, we'll then be able to show it by different colors to just designate the CRA eligible census tracks. It's easier to show you. So here's what I mean.

We're going to click on the down arrow, and I'm going to go to create market. Now I'm going to name it GA Atlanta CRA CTs, and I'm going to copy this name and paste it in the description, and then I'm going to select the folder in which to save it. So here I'm saving it in the training folder. And then I'm going to click on save. So it's saving.

Now what I've done is I've saved this layer and I can apply any data set I wish to it. Let me show you what I mean. First of all, in this layer, I can click on the layer name, click on theme, and then in the break count, select one. And in the theme, select magenta. Click apply. And now we've identified all of the CRA eligible census tracts. So we have two pieces of the puzzle.

The next piece is to add back that layer that identifies the opportunity. So if we save this layer as just showing the CRA eligible census tracts, I can also rename the layer by clicking on the down arrow, clicking rename, and just calling this GA Atlanta CRA CTs and clicking save. And now we're showing that the layer name just shows us the CRA eligible census tracts. In order to show the opportunity again, we can simply to add layer, data layer. The layer name is going to be GA Atlanta CRA CT Opp, for opportunity. All purchase loans 2020. Location type is census tract. And here, instead of selecting MSA, I'm going to select market. In the market tab, I'm just going to scroll down to find the market we had saved earlier. So in alphabetical order, it should be right here. And if I scroll down the page, you'll notice that it's selected. And simply click on save.

So the goal now is if I hide and toggle the map on and off and start with that blank map, I can start with the first layer, which is the total opportunity. And if I want to make sure that the legend corresponds to that layer, I just click on it again and you'll notice the legend corresponds to the layer. And now I can simply add, hey, where are the CRA eligible census tracts? Now we have a nice magenta, which contrasts very nicely with the base map. And then if I said, hey, I want to make sure that I'm focusing all of my resources on the CRA eligible census tracts with the most opportunity, then I could go for the third layer and click on view and click on the layer name again, and you'll notice that the legend changes. So now I would want to focus my energy, resources, time, effort on the census tracts that are red, orange and yellow, because they have the most opportunity, and as a lender, I'll get the most bang for my buck.

All right, last step in this process is I'm going to hide these two layers and show you how I would add an LMI layer to focus on borrowers. Simply click on add layer, data layer. The layer name is going to be LMI underscore CT, to show LMI census tracks. The attribute to view, I'm going to type in LMI. And then I'm going to pick LMI purchase loans, LMI borrower purchase loans. The attribute year is 2020 and the location is going to be census tract. And we're back to selecting the MSA and typing Atlanta. So click on Atlanta, click save, and now this layer specifically shows us based on the legend, which we can click here, where the pockets of LMI borrower opportunities are.

So if we actually add our CRA eligible census tract layer back on, we can also see the contrast by simply bringing the opacity up. And from there, bringing this opacity down so that you can see that contrast and where the opportunity is.

Actually, something good to note is how to change the order of layers. So here, to change the order of layers, we're actually going to put the CRA layer on top of the LMI layer. I'm simply going to click on this button, the up and down arrow together, and I'm going to drag the CRA CT layer up. So now I can see it's first in order and click save. And now I can see that on top of the map.

Thanks for watching this video. See you next time.

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