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Divided Supreme Court Reaffirms ‘Spousal Guarantors’ ECOA Decision
Thursday, March 24, 2016 6:35 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court found itself divided equally Tuesday in Hawkins v. Community Bank, which reaffirms that “spousal guarantors” cannot bring discrimination claims against creditors under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).

The court, minus one justice since the death of Antonin Scalia, voted 4-4 in the decision, meaning the earlier decision in the case by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit is reaffirmed.

At issue was whether “primarily and unconditionally liable” spousal guarantors are unambiguously excluded from being ECOA “applicants” because they are not integrally part of “any aspect of a credit transaction.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is responsible for Regulation B, which implements ECOA.