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Mortgages

A mortgage lender gave me a higher interest rate than I should have gotten based on my creditworthiness. What can I do if I think the lender discriminated against me?

According to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), it's illegal for a mortgage lender or broker to discriminate against you when you're applying for a mortgage or home equity loan because of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Sex (gender)
  • Marital status
  • Age (if the applicant is old enough to enter into a contract)
  • You've received income from any public assistance program
  • You've exercised a right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act, which is a collection of consumer protection laws, including ECOA, relating to credit

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

This means that a lender or broker can't 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

Tip: If you have a problem with a mortgage, you can submit a complaint with the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).

Tip: State or local law may prohibit discrimination for other reasons. 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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