Illegal Immigrants Have Little Problem Securing Home Loans in Mid-South

NOVEMBER 13, 2006 - Posted at 7:32 a.m. CST

MEMPHIS, TN - Real estate and mortgage companies say its profitable to them to offer services to immigrants in the country illegally.

One bank, the Bank of Bartlett, started a mortgage program for people without Social Security numbers, which likely includes some illegal immigrants.

Bank Chairman and CEO Bob Byrd says federal banking officials gave him the idea at a conference.

Federal officials say they encourage banks to offer services to immigrants, but don't take a position on lending to those in the country illegally.

Many immigrants are attractive borrowers because they have substantial savings from their jobs and pay a lot of cash up front.

But Steve Camarota with the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington says the process is still unethical.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)