I just started a new business and tried to get a mortgage loan for my business. I think that the lender discriminated against me and my company. What are my rights under the law?
Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act(ECOA), it is illegal for a creditor such as a lender or broker to discriminate in any business credit transaction against any applicant because of:
- 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 includes filing a billing dispute with a card issuer
The law applies even if a partnership or corporation applies for a loan. This means that a lender or broker may not use any of the above grounds as a reason to:
- Discourage you from applying for business credit
- Refuse you business credit if you qualify for it
- Provide you business credit on terms that are different from the terms given to someone else who is similarly situated to you, such as having similar creditworthiness
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).
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.