CFPB Issues Guidance for Serving Consumers with Limited English Proficiency

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In recognition of the compliance risks financial institutions face in serving limited English proficiency (LEP) consumers, the CFPB recently issued a statement providing compliance principles and guidelines to expand access to products and services for LEP consumers.  The statement was provided in part due to feedback the CFPB received on its request for information concerning ECOA/Regulation B last year, which WBK reported on here.

In the statement, the CFPB encouraged financial institutions to serve LEP consumers while remaining compliant with relevant legal requirements.  The CFPB noted that financial institutions may institute pilot programs or phased approaches to providing products and services to LEP consumers.  The CFPB expects different measures to be implemented based on the size, complexity, and risk profile of the financial institution.

The CFPB encouraged financial institutions to carefully consider language selection, product and service selection, and language preference collection and tracking in evaluating serving LEP consumers, in order to mitigate ECOA and UDAAP risks.  The CFPB also emphasized the importance of accuracy in translated documents.  Finally, the CFPB indicated that financial institutions can mitigate fair lending and other risks associated with providing services in languages other than English by implementing a strong compliance management system that affirmatively considers how to serve LEP consumers in a compliant manner. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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