Equal Credit Opportunity Act Discrimination

News & Analysis as of

Why Does the CFPB Want to Curb Auto Lenders’ Discretion to Charge Higher or Lower Interest Rates?

On July 14, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) and Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced they had reached a “groundbreaking settlement” with American Honda Finance Corporation (“Honda”).(1) The...more

CFPB Refers Another Auto Finance Company to DOJ on Disparate Impact Allegations

Not long after taking action against American Honda Finance Corporation under the disparate impact doctrine for allegedly discriminatory auto loan pricing, the CFPB has struck again—this time reportedly referring Santander...more

ABA seeks supervisory and enforcement standards consistent with Inclusive Communities

The American Bankers Association has sent a letter to the DOJ, Fed, OCC, FDIC, HUD and CFPB requesting confirmation “in interagency guidance, updated exam procedures, and where appropriate amended regulations that the...more

Supreme Court Slams The Brakes On Challenge To Disparate Act

As of now, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) prohibits dealers from unintentional, or “disparate impact,” discrimination in setting dealer reserves in auto financing. This disparate impact can result from policies or...more

Auto Finance Company Agrees to Change Dealer Compensation Policy to Settle CFPB and DOJ Fair Lending Claims

To resolve charges by the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) that it engaged in unlawful discrimination in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), American Honda...more

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.

In Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 576 U.S. ___, 2015 WL 2473449 (Jun. 25, 2015), the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, held that disparate impact discrimination...more

CFPB Continues Crackdown on Fair Lending: Marketing Materials Targeted

In a recent guidance bulletin, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reminded mortgage lenders to heed their Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) obligations when considering applicants receiving public assistance income....more

CFPB and DOJ File Action Against Provident Funding Alleging Discriminatory Lending Policies and Practices

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB, or “Bureau”), together with the Department of Justice (DOJ), filed an enforcement action against Provident Funding Associates, L.P. (Provident), the second-largest...more

CFPB, DOJ Join in Fair Lending Enforcement Action Against Provident

On Thursday, the CFPB and the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a joint complaint against the second-largest private mortgage company in the United States alleging it engaged in discriminatory lending practices from 2006 to...more

DOJ Settles with Illinois-Based Lender over Allegations of Discriminatory Lending

On May 7, the DOJ announced a consent order with an Illinois-based lender to settle allegations that the state-chartered bank engaged in a pattern of discriminatory lending, violating the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)....more

Justice Department’s ECOA report describes joint CFPB activity

The U.S. Department of Justice recently issued the Attorney General’s 2014 Annual Report to Congress Pursuant to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act Amendments of 1976. The report discusses the DOJ’s 2014 ECOA enforcement...more

DOJ Submits 2014 Equal Credit Opportunity Act Annual Report to Congress

On April 13, the DOJ released its 2014 Annual Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) Report highlighting its activities to address credit discrimination. The twenty-page report highlights discrimination lawsuits and settlements...more

DOJ Reaches Deal In Auto Lending Discrimination Case

Why it matters - In what the government calls its first ever discrimination settlement involving “buy here, pay here” auto financing, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and North Carolina Attorney General reached a deal...more

DOJ and North Carolina AG Settle First-Ever Federal Discrimination Suit Involving Auto Lending

On February 10, the DOJ, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina and the North Carolina AG, announced the settlement of the federal government’s discrimination suit involving two “buy...more

Deference in Decline: ECOA’s Regulation B and Agency Discretion Might Not Be Broad Enough to Include Spousal Guarantors

For more than 40 years, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (‘‘ECOA’’) has prohibited lenders from discriminating against applicants for credit on various prohibited bases, including marital status. The policy reasons for such...more

CFPB Proposes Regulating Nonbank Auto Finance Companies

On September 16, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued and requested comment on a proposed rule that would, for the first time, subject nonbank auto finance companies to federal regulation and oversight. The...more

Implementing Regulation B Spousal Signature Provisions

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act and its implementing rule, Regulation B, prohibit any creditor from discriminating based on sex or marital status, among other protected statuses. All the federal banking agencies are involved...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

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

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

DOJ And CFPB Team Up To Take On Auto And Mortgage Lenders

The CFPB and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are joining forces to pursue damages and penalties against consumer lenders for violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) in pricing consumer loans....more

Disparate Impact Remains Fair Lending Risk To Banks

Lenders seeking judicial relief from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s heightened enforcement of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act were left disappointed by the settlement of Mt. Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in...more

Justice Department Announces Three Fair Lending Actions

Recently, the DOJ released information regarding three fair lending actions, all three of which included allegations related to wholesale lending programs. On September 27, the DOJ announced separate actions—one against a...more

Auto Notes, Fall 2013: Dealer Markup Practices - In a New Era of Federal Enforcement

In March 2013, the U.S. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) announced that it would closely scrutinize dealer reserve (“markup”) practices. The federal concern is that dealer markups may result in an illegal disparate...more

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