The CFPB doesn’t want its fair lending authority to be in doubt. A recent blog post by Patrice Ficklin, the CFPB’s Assistant Director for the Office of Fair Lending & Equal Opportunity, describes the CFPB’s authority under the ECOA and HMDA and the “many tools” Ms. Ficklin’s office can use “to protect consumers from credit discrimination and promote fair access to credit.” In addition to bringing enforcement actions, those “tools” include working with other CFPB units to “develop new policies, including rules about loan data collection required by Congress,” with the data to be used to ensure that fair and non-discriminatory credit decisions are made.
Ms. Ficklin invites suggestions for “issues or questions” her office should consider and wants to know about “trends or data” her office should review. The CFPB’s promotion of its fair lending authority is consistent with reports we have heard that CFPB examiners are focusing on fair lending issues in their examinations of very large depository institutions (those with total assets of more than $10 billion). It’s also consistent with the CFPB’s decision to ask on its credit card and mortgage loan complaint portals whether the person submitting a complaint thinks discrimination was involved.