Using publicly available information to proxy for unidentified race and ethnicity
We ensure that lenders are complying with fair lending laws and are addressing discrimination across the consumer credit industry. Information on consumer race and ethnicity is required to conduct fair lending analysis of non-mortgage credit products, but auto lenders and other non-mortgage lenders are generally not allowed to collect consumers’ demographic information. As a result, substitute, or “proxy” information is used to fill in information about consumers’ demographic characteristics.
In this paper, we explain the construction of the proxy for race and ethnicity currently employed by our Office of Research and division of Supervision, Enforcement, and Fair Lending. This report also provides an assessment of the performance of the proxy method using a sample of mortgage applicants for whom race and ethnicity are reported.