Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) makes it unlawful for “any creditor to discriminate against any applicant, with respect to any aspect of a credit transaction,” on the basis of prohibited characteristics including sex and marital status. 15 U.S.C. 1691(a). A Bureau regulation implementing this prohibition forbids creditors from requiring one spouse to guarantee the other spouse’s debt obligation solely because the couple is married. The regulation further defines the “applicants” protected from that discriminatory practice to include any such guarantor. The government’s amicus brief argues that this interpretation of “applicant” is a permissible interpretation of ECOA and should be upheld.