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Mortgages

I applied for a mortgage, but my lender gave me a higher interest rate or charged me higher fees than I should have gotten based on my creditworthiness. I think that the lender discriminated against me. What are my rights under the law?

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) makes it illegal for a creditor such as a lender or broker to discriminate in any credit transaction, including mortgage and home equity loans, against any applicant because of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Sex (gender)
  • Marital status
  • Age (if the applicant is old enough to enter into a contract)
  • Receipt of income from any public assistance program
  • Exercising in good faith a right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act, which is a collection of consumer protection statutes relating to credit

This means that a lender or broker may not use any of the above grounds as a reason to:

  • Provide you a mortgage or home equity loan on terms that are different from the terms given to someone else who is similarly situated to you, such as having similar creditworthiness
  • Refuse you a mortgage or home equity loan if you qualify for it
  • Discourage you from applying for a mortgage or home equity loan

If you believe that you were discriminated against on any of these grounds, you can file an official complaint or tell us about your experience.

You can file a complaint with the CFPB online or by calling 1-855-411-CFPB (2372).

You can also tell us about your experience without filing a formal complaint.

The Fair Housing Act also makes it illegal to discriminate against anyone who is seeking a mortgage, home equity loan, or loan to build, repair, or improve a home on the basis of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Sex (gender)
  • Handicap (disability)
  • Familial Status

If you believe that your lender or broker discriminated against you on one of these bases when you sought a mortgage, home equity loan, or a loan to build, repair or improve a home, in addition to filing a complaint with the CFPB online, you can also file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

In addition, state or local law may prohibit discrimination on additional grounds. If you think you may have been a victim of discrimination, you may also want to consult an attorney. If you need help finding an attorney, you can view this list of legal aid services in your state, or you can find lawyer referrals in your county and state by visiting the American Bar Association website.

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