Equal Credit Opportunity Act

News & Analysis as of

CFPB issues bulletin on consideration of public assistance income in credit decisions

The CFPB has issued a new bulletin (Bulletin 2014-03) that is intended “to remind creditors” of their ECOA/Regulation B obligations with respect to consideration of public assistance income and relevant standards and...more

Eighth Circuit Finds Guarantors Not Afforded Protections under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act

The application of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) to spousal guaranties is a developing area of law, resulting in a number of recent appellate opinions. One opinion from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Hawkins...more

Court Tosses HUD’s Disparate Impact Rule: Is Protection for Lenders from Disparate Impact Claims on the Horizon?

Since the 1970s, courts have routinely held that the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., may remedy housing discrimination proven through use of the disparate impact theory. The doctrine of disparate impact permits a...more

CFPB White Paper on Methodology for Evaluating Alleged Racial Disparities in Lending

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”) forbids discrimination by a creditor on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status or age. As the CFPB has acknowledged, particularly in the non-mortgage...more

Spouse-Guarantor Rule: A Split Between Federal Circuit Courts

When a closely-held entity applies for a loan, the financial institution usually requires the entity’s owner(s) to guaranty the loan. If the owner is married, the financial institution may also require the owner(s) spouse(s)...more

North Carolina Supreme Court Upholds Enforceability of Waiver of ECOA Claim

Last month, the North Carolina Supreme Court issued an important opinion for lenders in this state. The opinion reversed the North Carolina Court of Appeals’ decision in RL REGI N.C., LLC v. Lighthouse Cove, LLC, which found...more

Are You Covered When the CFPB Comes Calling? Protecting Insurance Coverage for CFPB Investigation Defense and Settlement Costs

Receiving a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Civil Investigative Demand or Proposed Action, Response Request (PARR) letter is never good news. However, that news can become significantly worse if you discover, to...more

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act – a Sword and a Shield?

The year was 1974 and, on the heels of the civil rights movement, was a time when the country maintained its heightened awareness of equality and discrimination. This was the year that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)...more

Community Banking Excellence - Issue 3, 2014

In This Issue: - Another Perspective: Lyn Hayth is the President and CEO of the Bank of Botetourt. Lyn has been a banker for more than 30 years.... - From the Editor: A welcome message from our...more

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act’s Safe Harbor for Assignees

In a previous post, we considered whether guarantors are considered to be “applicants” under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (the “ECOA”), and today, we will consider whether assignees who acquire debt would be subject to...more

Eighth Circuit Opens Circuit Split on the Scope of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) makes it unlawful for any creditor “to discriminate against any applicant, with respect to any aspect of a credit transaction . . . on the basis of . . . marital status.” The statute...more

CFPB Offers More Details On Plans To Supervise Auto Finance Market

On September 17, the CFPB released new information about its plans to supervise and enforce auto finance companies’ compliance with consumer financial laws, including fair lending laws. As it indicated it would earlier this...more

Disparate impact cases against HUD: Illinois federal court issues decision; update on D.C. case

Because of their potential impact on the CFPB’s conclusion that the ECOA and Regulation B encompass disparate impact claims, we have been following two insurance industry lawsuits involving a challenge to HUD’s Federal...more

N.C. Supreme Court Issues Significant Ruling On Commercial Forbearance Agreements and Spousal Guaranties

On August 20, 2014, the North Carolina Supreme Court issued an opinion giving great weight to properly-drafted forbearance agreements in a commercial loan and guaranty context. RL REGI N.C., LLC v. Lighthouse Cove, LLC, No....more

Do Guarantors Fall under the Protection of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act?

We have discussed the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”), which makes it unlawful for a creditor to discriminate against an applicant in any aspect of a credit transaction on the basis of, among other things, the...more

North Carolina Supreme Court Clarifies the Enforceability of Waivers and Releases of Claims and Defenses in Forbearance Agreements

On August 20, 2014, the North Carolina Supreme Court issued an opinion clarifying the enforceability of waivers and releases of claims and defenses granted by borrowers and guarantors in forbearance agreements. RL REGI N.C.,...more

Guarantors Are Not Protected by the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Eighth Circuit Holds

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently upheld summary judgment in favor of a lender, dismissing an action by the borrowers’ spouses alleging that the lender’s requirement that the spouses sign guaranties...more

Eighth Circuit Holds Loan Guarantors Are Not Applicants Under ECOA

On August 5, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that ECOA clearly provides that a person does not qualify as an applicant under the statute solely by virtue of executing a guaranty to secure the debt of...more

Documenting a Borrower’s Intent to Apply for Joint Credit under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”) was signed into law by Congress in 1974. This law makes it unlawful for a creditor to discriminate against an applicant in any aspect of a credit transaction on the basis of, inter...more

Mortgage Lending Legal and Regulatory Highlights

In its spring edition of Supervisory Highlights, the CFPB cautions financial institutions of the increased risk of a fair lending violation for failing to maintain adequate policies and procedures to document exceptions to...more

The CFPB Eyes Supervisory Regulation Over Large Auto-Lenders

Large auto-lenders may soon have to contend with a new regulator. In its most recent semi-annual report, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) highlighted its intent to promulgate a new rule which would subject...more

DOJ, CFPB Fair Lending Enforcement Actions Target Credit Card Repayment Programs, Marketing Of Add-On Products

On June 19, the CFPB and the DOJ announced parallel enforcement actions against a federal savings bank that allegedly violated ECOA in the offering of credit card debt-repayment programs and allegedly engaged in deceptive...more

The Bureau's Pursuit of Fair Lending

By now it is a known fact that one of the most important features of an examination conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or “Bureau”) is a rigorous review of fair lending compliance. So, given its...more

CFPB to issue whitepaper on methodology for identifying auto finance discrimination and consider use of advisory opinions

While Director Cordray’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee’s hearing on the CFPB’s fifth Semi-Annual Report yesterday was accompanied by the usual dose of political theater, his testimony did yield the...more

Another Supreme Court disparate impact case?

The U.S. Supreme Court could have its third opportunity since 2012 to provide clarity with respect to disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act and (by analogy) the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. After losing on...more

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