Consumer Watchdog Agency Eyes Discriminatory Lending

Lending discrimination
Lending discrimination

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced its intention to crack down on discrimination by lenders against women and minorities.

On Wednesday the agency -- a centerpiece of President Barack Obama's attempt to reform the nation's financial system -- sent a letter to lenders, which it called "Fair Notice on Fair Lending." In the letter, the CFPB explains that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act "makes it illegal for a creditor to discriminate against any applicant because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age [or] receipt of income from any public assistance program." Credit availability "often determines an individual's effective range of social choice and influences such basic life matters as selection of occupation and housing." Without discrimination-free access to credit, in other words, many consumers will be prevented from accessing housing on equal terms.