CFPB Leader Not Backing Down on Lending Discrimination Cases

September 24, 2013
Housing Wire 
consumer financial protection bureau news
Without intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will continue to hold up disparate impact as the appropriate legal theory to use in filing lending bias cases against banks. Under this theory, it is irrelevant whether a lender intended to discriminate against a borrower or not. CFPB director Richard Cordray, in an address to the American Banker Regulatory Symposium, reiterated the agency’s fight against lending discrimination, saying that it would "pursue discrimination in consumer financial markets based on disparate impact as well as disparate treatment." From a disadvantaged consumer's point of view, he added, "it makes no practical difference whether a lender consciously intended to discriminate." Maintaining this standard means that the mortgage industry may be stuck in a "disparate impact world" unless the U.S. Supreme Court rules in the industry's favor in New Jersey v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens Action. In October, the court will determine whether a lending discrimination case can survive if lending guidelines disparately impact a particular group, even without an intent to discriminate.

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