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CFPB and Justice Department Issue Joint Statement Cautioning that Financial Institutions May Not Use Immigration Status to Illegally Discriminate Against Credit Applicants
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Justice Department today issued a joint statement that reminds financial institutions that all credit applicants are protected from discrimination on the basis of their national origin, race, and other characteristics covered by the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, regardless of their immigration status. The CFPB and Justice Department are issuing this statement because consumers have reported being rejected for credit cards as well as for auto, student, personal, and equipment loans because of their immigration status, even when they have strong credit histories and ties to the United States and are otherwise qualified to receive the loans.
While the Equal Credit Opportunity Act allows a creditor to consider an applicant’s immigration status when necessary to ascertain the creditor’s rights regarding repayment, creditors should be aware that unnecessary or overbroad reliance on immigration status, including when that reliance is based on bias, may run afoul of the law.
“Fair access to credit is crucially important for building wealth and strengthening household financial stability,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “The CFPB will not allow companies to use immigration status as an excuse for illegal discrimination.”