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CFPB's Fair Lending Priorities in the New Year
Tuesday, December 27, 2016 6:55 AM

Americans recently marked the 40th anniversary of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, a federal civil rights law that protects consumers from being discriminated against by lenders. In preparation for a new year, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray looks at four key areas where the CFPB’s fair lending team will focus in 2017, doing work supports the agency’s broader priorities across all the consumer financial markets they monitor.

For the past five years CFPB has worked to ensure that consumers are not excluded from or made to pay more for mortgages, auto loans, or credit cards because of their race or ethnicity. This work has resulted in more than $400 million in payments and credits to more than 500,000 consumers who experienced discrimination, and greater efforts by lenders to monitor their own lending practices for possible discrimination.

Because the Consumer Bureau is responsible for overseeing so many products and so many lenders, they re-prioritize from time to time, ensuring they are focused on the areas of greatest risk to consumers. Going forward, the bureau is increasing its focus on:

  • Redlining. The bureau will continue to evaluate whether lenders have intentionally avoided lending in minority neighborhoods.
  • Mortgage and Student Loan Servicing. The bureau will determine whether some borrowers who are behind on their mortgage or student loan payments may have more difficulty working out a new solution with the servicer because of their race or ethnicity.
  • Small Business Lending. 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 to ensure their fair access to credit.