Attorney General Becerra: Weakening Our Equal Credit Opportunity Laws Will Worsen Inequality, Promote Discriminatory Practices
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today joined a coalition of 14 states expressing serious concern about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) apparent rejection of protections against lending discrimination. Earlier this summer, Acting Director Mick Mulvaney indicated that the CFPB may no longer enforce the Equal Credit Opportunity Act’s (ECOA) protections against disparate impact discrimination. The ECOA makes it unlawful for creditors to discriminate against consumers on the basis of certain characteristics, including race, national origin, sex, marital status, and age.
“Equal access to credit is essential to a fair economy and helps make the American Dream come true for those in society who have been shut out,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Fighting systemic and structural inequality requires strong consumer protections. By weakening protections against credit discrimination, the Trump Administration threatens to undermine American equality and prosperity. We will continue fighting the discrimination and unfair practices that hold our families back.”
In May, Acting Director Mulvaney stated that the CFPB would reexamine requirements of the ECOA, suggesting that the CFPB is “no longer allowed” to enforce ECOA’s prohibition against disparate impact discrimination. In their comment letter, the Attorneys General urge Acting Director Mulvaney to continue enforcing ECOA and its disparate impact regulations, which provide a critical protection for millions of Americans vulnerable to discrimination. Rolling back or refusing to enforce ECOA previsions, the comment letter explains, would represent an unlawful departure from over 40 years of precedent.
Attorney General Becerra has consistently fought to oppose consumer discrimination since taking office. Last month, the Attorney General joined a 17-state coalition urging the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) not to undermine the Agency’s Fair Housing Act (FHA) disparate impact regulations. This rule establishes legal liability for practices that have discriminatory effects on individuals protected under the FHA. In March 2018, Attorney General Becerra filed a comment letter opposing HUD’s suspension of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. This rule requires jurisdictions to use national and local data and gather community input to ensure their housing development goals promote balanced and integrated living patterns.
A copy of the comment letter is available here.