For many consumers, access to responsible credit remains a challenge. Without fair and equal access to credit, some people may never reach their financial goals. Worse, some consumers may face discrimination in the process.
That’s why we help to make sure that financial institutions are complying with federal consumer financial laws, including the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). ECOA protects consumers from credit discrimination, and HMDA requires that covered financial institutions collect and disclose certain information about home mortgage loan applications. HMDA disclosures help with identifying discrimination and enforcing the law.
We’ve created, refined, and implemented a process to focus our supervisory work on areas that present higher risk to consumers when it comes to fair lending. Our supervisory work takes us into institutions to analyze data and review policies and practices in order to evaluate compliance with, and identify potential violations of, ECOA and HMDA.
We’ve also carried out some recent enforcement actions for violations of ECOA and/or HMDA against:
- Two mortgage lenders for significant errors in their mortgage loan application data
- A credit card company for several violations of consumer protection laws, including unlawfully discriminating against card applicants on the basis of age.
- A mortgage lender for charging higher prices on mortgage loans to African-American and Hispanic borrowers than similarly creditworthy non-Hispanic white borrowers
- An indirect auto lender for harming minority borrowers who were charged higher interest rates than similarly creditworthy non-Hispanic white borrowers.
Additionally, we’ve released important information about fair lending, which we hope will benefit consumers, advocates, and industry. We introduced our HMDA Database, which allows the public to study trends in the mortgage market across the nation and in their own communities. We also released two fair lending bulletins to help consumers and industry stakeholders recognize fair lending and access to credit risks in the home mortgage and auto lending markets. And, we’ll continue to work with industry and trade representatives, fair lending, civil rights, consumer and community advocates to make sure that consumers know their rights and that lenders know how to comply with the rules.
We’ve made a lot of progress, but there is more work to do. We’re proud to work for America’s consumers, and we do our job best when we hear from you directly. Tell us your story if you simply want to share an experience with us. You can submit a complaint online or by calling (855) 411-2372 if you have a problem with a mortgage, credit card, or other credit product.