FTC Staff Provides Annual Letter to CFPB On 2023 Equal Credit Opportunity Act Activities

The staff of the Federal Trade Commission has provided the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) an annual summary of its enforcement and related activities on the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).

The FTC is responsible for ECOA enforcement and education regarding most non-bank financial service providers. In its summary, FTC staff describes the Commission’s work on ECOA-related issues, including activities addressed in enforcement, research, and policy development such as:

  • a case against an auto dealership group—Rhinelander—that charged the dealership and its current and prior owners violated ECOA by discriminating against American Indian consumers with respect to interest rate markups and illegal junk fees;
  • refund distributions in two other cases against auto dealership groups—Napleton Auto and Passport Auto;
  • an amicus filing in CFPB v. Townstone Financial and Barry Sturner challenging a district court ruling that invalidated a key anti-discrimination rule in ECOA;
  • report detailing the consumer issues that affect American Indian and Alaska Native populations, as well as the FTC’s enforcement, outreach, and education work on these issues;
  • a joint statement with the CFPB, Department of Justice (DOJ), and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission pledging to uphold America’s commitment to the core principles of fairness, equality, and justice as emerging automated systems, including those sometimes marketed as “artificial intelligence” or “AI,” become increasingly common in our daily lives – impacting civil rights, fair competition, consumer protection, and equal opportunity.
  • the FTC’s participation as a member of the Interagency Task Force on Fair Lending, a joint undertaking with the CFPB, DOJ, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the federal banking agencies, which shares information and discusses policy issues; and
  • the FTC’s participation as a member of the Interagency Fair Lending Methodologies Working Group, with the CFPB, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, DOJ, HUD, and the federal banking agencies, to coordinate and share information on analytical methodologies used in enforcement of and supervision for compliance with fair lending laws, including ECOA.

The summary also outlines the Commission’s business and consumer education efforts on fair lending issues.

The Commission vote authorizing staff to send the summary to the CFPB was 3-0. A copy of the summary was also provided to the Federal Reserve Board.

The lead attorney on this matter for the FTC was Carole Reynolds in the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

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