Comment for 1002.8 - Special Purpose Credit Programs
8(a) Standards for programs.
1. Determining qualified programs. The Bureau does not determine whether individual programs qualify for special purpose credit status, or whether a particular program benefits an “economically disadvantaged class of persons.” The agency or creditor administering or offering the loan program must make these decisions regarding the status of its program.
2. Compliance with a program authorized by Federal or state law. A creditor does not violate Regulation B when it complies in good faith with a regulation promulgated by a government agency implementing a special purpose credit program under § 1002.8(a)(1). It is the agency's responsibility to promulgate a regulation that is consistent with Federal and state law.
3. Expressly authorized. Credit programs authorized by Federal or state law include programs offered pursuant to Federal, state, or local statute, regulation or ordinance, or pursuant to judicial or administrative order.
4. Creditor liability. A refusal to grant credit to an applicant is not a violation of the Act or regulation if the applicant does not meet the eligibility requirements under a special purpose credit program.
5. Determining need. In designing a special purpose credit program under § 1002.8(a), a for-profit organization must determine that the program will benefit a class of people who would otherwise be denied credit or would receive it on less favorable terms. This determination can be based on a broad analysis using the organization's own research or data from outside sources, including governmental reports and studies. For example, a creditor might design new products to reach consumers who would not meet, or have not met, its traditional standards of creditworthiness due to such factors as credit inexperience or the use of credit sources that may not report to consumer reporting agencies. Or, a bank could review Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data along with demographic data for its assessment area and conclude that there is a need for a special purpose credit program for low-income minority borrowers.
6. Elements of the program. The written plan must contain information that supports the need for the particular program. The plan also must either state a specific period of time for which the program will last, or contain a statement regarding when the program will be reevaluated to determine if there is a continuing need for it.
8(b) Rules in other sections.
1. Applicability of rules. A creditor that rejects an application because the applicant does not meet the eligibility requirements (common characteristic or financial need, for example) must nevertheless notify the applicant of action taken as required by § 1002.9.
8(c) Special rule concerning requests and use of information.
1. Request of prohibited basis information. This section permits a creditor to request and consider certain information that would otherwise be prohibited by §§ 1002.5 and 1002.6 to determine an applicant's eligibility for a particular program.
2. Examples. Examples of programs under which the creditor can ask for and consider information about a prohibited basis are:
i. Energy conservation programs to assist the elderly, for which the creditor must consider the applicant's age.
ii. Programs under a Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Corporation, for which a creditor must consider the applicant's minority status.
8(d) Special rule in the case of financial need.
1. Request of prohibited basis information. This section permits a creditor to request and consider certain information that would otherwise be prohibited by §§ 1002.5 and 1002.6, and to require signatures that would otherwise be prohibited by § 1002.7(d).
2. Examples. Examples of programs in which financial need is a criterion are:
i. Subsidized housing programs for low-to moderate-income households, for which a creditor may have to consider the applicant's receipt of alimony or child support, the spouse's or parents' income, etc.
ii. Student loan programs based on the family's financial need, for which a creditor may have to consider the spouse's or parents' financial resources.
3. Student loans. In a guaranteed student loan program, a creditor may obtain the signature of a parent as a guarantor when required by Federal or state law or agency regulation, or when the student does not meet the creditor's standards of creditworthiness. (See §§ 1002.7(d)(1) and (5).) The creditor may not require an additional signature when a student has a work or credit history that satisfies the creditor's standards.