Safeguarding against credit discrimination: 2016 Fair Lending Report

ECOA blog

It is against the law for a lender to discriminate in any aspect of a credit transaction based on certain reasons. Despite this prohibition, we hear from consumers who believe they have been treated differently because of these reasons, including characteristics such as their age, race, national origin, or sex. That’s where the CFPB’s Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity comes in. We work to stop illegal discrimination. 

Here’s what we’ve been up to and where we are headed.

Our work in 2016

  • To protect consumers and better understand issues facing lenders, we engaged in significant outreach with industry, civil rights advocates, consumer groups, and other stakeholders to ensure a diverse set of viewpoints are incorporated into our work.
  • We protected consumers by working with other government regulators and agencies to ensure companies reimbursed harmed consumers and put tools and processes in place to protect consumers.
  • We encouraged lenders to find ways to expand access to credit in responsible ways, including to consumers with limited proficiency in English.

You can read more about the specific work we highlight above, as well as our other work in 2016 in our fifth Fair Lending Report

New for 2017

The financial market is always changing and the CFPB is responsible for overseeing many products and lenders. As a result, we re-prioritize our work from time to time, to make sure what we’re doing focuses on the areas of greatest risks to consumers. 

Going forward, we will continue to identify areas of new and emerging fair lending risks, and we’ll work to monitor institutions for compliance in the following areas.

Redlining: We will work to evaluate whether lenders have intentionally discouraged prospective applicants in minority neighborhoods. 

Mortgage and student loan servicing: We will determine whether some borrowers who are behind on their mortgage or student loan payments have more difficulty working out a new solution with the servicer because of their race, ethnicity, age, or gender. 

Small business lending: In establishing the CFPB, Congress expressed concern that women-owned and minority-owned businesses may experience discrimination when they apply for credit, and has required the CFPB to take steps in ensuring their fair access to credit. Because small businesses are the backbone of our economy, we are focusing on how to make sure small business owners, including women-owned and minority-owned businesses, can better access lending. 

How you can help

Remember, we do our best work when we hear from you directly about your experiences, positive and negative, in the financial marketplace. Tell us your story if you simply want to share your feedback with us. You can also submit a complaint online or by calling (855) 411-2372 if you have a problem with a mortgage, student loan, or other credit product.

Due to technical issues, the commenting feature of our blog is temporarily unavailable. We’re working to bring this functionality back, and look forward to hearing your feedback and comments about the CFPB’s work soon.