Category: Fair Lending/Anti-Discrimination

1
CFPB Publishes Major Changes to HDMA
2
CFPB and DOJ Continue to Pursue Indirect Auto and Redlining Claims
3
Key Takeaways From the CFPB’s and DOJ’s Redlining Settlement With Hudson City Savings Bank
4
DOJ and CFPB Settle Discriminatory Mortgage Pricing Case with Wholesale Lender
5
CFPB Releases its 2014 Fair Lending Report
6
The Supreme Court to Consider Whether Spousal Loan Guarantors Are “Applicants” for Credit under ECOA
7
Department of Justice Settles Its First Discrimination Case against a “Buy Here, Pay Here” Used Car Dealership
8
Justices Sotomayor and Scalia Lead the Way as the Supreme Court Hears Argument on the Fair Housing Act Disparate-Impact Question
9
CFPB Issues Guidance to Mortgage Lenders on Verifying Disability Income
10
U.S. District Court Strikes Down HUD’s Fair Housing Act Disparate Impact Rule

CFPB Publishes Major Changes to HDMA

By: Melanie Brody, Christopher Shelton

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a final rule that makes significant amendments to its Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (“HMDA”) regulations.  The final rule is available here.

At 797 double-spaced pages, the final rule is almost half the length of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, which came into effect earlier this month.  Institutions will have to devote significant attention to digesting and implementing all the new HMDA requirements.  The new requirements come into effect in three phases, starting in January 2018, January 2019, and January 2020.

K&L Gates will be circulating a client alert shortly, followed by a webinar, to help institutions navigate this complex final rule.

CFPB and DOJ Continue to Pursue Indirect Auto and Redlining Claims

By: Melanie Brody, Christa Bieker

The Department of Justice (“DOJ” or the “Department”) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or the “Bureau”) are increasingly pursuing lenders suspected of discriminatory lending practices. Last week, the DOJ and the CFPB announced two settlements with lenders resolving alleged violations of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”) and the Fair Housing Act. These announcements come only days after the DOJ and the CFPB announced a consent order with Hudson City Savings Bank resolving allegations of racial redlining.

On September 28, the CFPB and the DOJ announced a consent order with Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank (“Fifth Third”) resolving allegations that Fifth Third’s indirect auto-lending pricing policies discriminated against African American and Hispanic borrowers. Although the CFPB does not have oversight over car dealers, the Bureau is able to investigate the auto loans that lenders like Fifth Third make through dealers. Coordinated investigations into Fifth Third’s indirect auto-lending business led the Bureau and the Department to conclude that African American and Hispanic borrowers paid approximately 35 or 36 basis points more, respectively, in dealer markups than similarly situated non-Hispanic white borrowers, which resulted in African American and Hispanic borrowers paying an average of $200 more for their car loans.

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Key Takeaways From the CFPB’s and DOJ’s Redlining Settlement With Hudson City Savings Bank

By: Melanie Brody, Anjali Garg

On Thursday, September 24, 2015, the CFPB and DOJ filed a complaint and proposed consent order against Hudson City Savings Bank (“Hudson City”) alleging violations of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Fair Housing Act. The complaint alleges that Hudson City discriminated against Black and Hispanic borrowers by redlining majority-Black-and-Hispanic neighborhoods (defined in the consent order as a census tract in which more than 50 percent of the residents are identified in the 2010 U.S. Census as either “Black or African American” or “Hispanic or Latino”) in its residential mortgage lending in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The complaint alleges that Hudson City engaged in redlining through its (1) location of branches and loan officers, (2) exclusion of Black and Hispanic census tracts from its Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) assessment area, (3) use of brokers outside of majority Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, (4) marketing directed at neighborhoods with relatively few minority residents, and (5) exclusion of residents from majority-minority counties from discounted home improvement loans for borrowers with low to moderate incomes.

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DOJ and CFPB Settle Discriminatory Mortgage Pricing Case with Wholesale Lender

By: Melanie Brody, Anjali Garg

On May 28, 2015, the DOJ and the CFPB filed a complaint and proposed consent order against Provident Funding Associates (Provident) alleging that the mortgage lender violated the Fair Housing Act and ECOA by charging African American and Hispanic borrowers higher broker fees than it charged white borrowers. To resolve these claims, Provident will pay $9 million to approximately 14,000 borrowers who allegedly paid higher interest rates and/or fees for mortgages between 2006–2011. The agencies did not impose a civil money penalty against Provident.

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CFPB Releases its 2014 Fair Lending Report

By: Melanie Brody, Anjali Garg

On April 28, the CFPB issued its third Fair Lending Report, highlighting fair lending developments from calendar year 2014. The CFPB reports that in 2014, its fair lending supervisory and public enforcement actions resulted in $224 million in remediation to approximately 303,000 consumers. The CFPB referred 15 matters to the Department of Justice in the areas of mortgage lending, auto finance, unsecured consumer lending and credit cards, and student lending. DOJ declined to open an independent investigation in five of those matters.

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The Supreme Court to Consider Whether Spousal Loan Guarantors Are “Applicants” for Credit under ECOA

By: Andrew C. Glass, Olivia Kelman

The United States Supreme Court has granted certiorari to decide whether the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”) excludes loan guarantors from the definition of “applicants” entitled to bring suit under the Act. See Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore, No. 14-520 (U.S. Mar. 2, 2015). Specifically, the Court will decide whether the Federal Reserve Board exceeded its authority in its 2003 amendment to Regulation B, the regulation implementing ECOA, to purportedly bring guarantors within the ambit of ECOA’s protection. The Court’s decision may have far-reaching implications for lenders extending credit guaranteed by a non-borrower.

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Department of Justice Settles Its First Discrimination Case against a “Buy Here, Pay Here” Used Car Dealership

By: Melanie Brody, Anjali Garg

On February 10, 2015, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the North Carolina Attorney General announced a settlement against two “buy here, pay here” used car dealerships and the companies’ presidents. The settlement resolves allegations under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, its implementing regulation (Regulation B), the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and the North Carolina Uniform Commercial Code, that the companies engaged in “reverse redlining” by allegedly targeting African American borrowers for used car loans using unfair and predatory terms.

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Justices Sotomayor and Scalia Lead the Way as the Supreme Court Hears Argument on the Fair Housing Act Disparate-Impact Question

By: Paul F. Hancock, Andrew C. Glass, Roger L. Smerage, and Olivia Kelman

On January 21, 2015, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (the “Texas DHCA case”). The case presents the question whether the Fair Housing Act recognizes a disparate-impact theory of liability. See Tex. Dep’t of Hous. & Cmty. Affairs v. The Inclusive Cmtys. Project, Inc., — S. Ct. —, 2014 WL 4916193 (Oct. 2, 2014) (No. 13-1371) (granting petition for writ of certiorari). Under that theory, a plaintiff may challenge a defendant’s policies or practices that are neutral on their face (that is, do not reflect any intent to discriminate) but that purportedly have a disproportionate effect on groups sharing certain statutorily-defined characteristics such as race or national origin. The Supreme Court has expressed strong interest in the issue, granting certiorari three times in the last four terms to decide the question, only to have the parties settle just before oral argument in the previous two matters. See Magner v. Gallagher, S. Ct. No. 10-1032, and Township of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc., S. Ct. No. 11-1507. At argument in the Texas DHCA case, the public was finally able to hear the nature of the Court’s interest in the issue.

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CFPB Issues Guidance to Mortgage Lenders on Verifying Disability Income

By: Melanie Brody, Stephanie C. Robinson, Jay M. Willis

On Tuesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or the “Bureau”) issued a compliance bulletin, CFPB Bulletin 2014-03, to help lenders avoid discrimination against recipients of Social Security Administration (“SSA”) disability income in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and its implementing regulation, Regulation B.

Creditors may occasionally feel stuck between a rock and a hard place when underwriting mortgage loans for disability income recipients. On the one hand, creditors have a legal obligation to ensure that applicants are able to repay any credit extended. When an applicant receives public assistance, Regulation B expressly allows creditors to consider the length of time that such assistance is likely to continue. On the other hand, while SSA provides recipients with disability benefits documentation, that documentation generally does not detail how long benefits will last. Creditors seeking to responsibly underwrite mortgage loans must somehow make that determination on their own.

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U.S. District Court Strikes Down HUD’s Fair Housing Act Disparate Impact Rule

By: Paul F. Hancock, Andrew C. Glass, Roger L. Smerage, and Olivia Kelman

On Monday, November 3, 2014, Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down the disparate impact rule promulgated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) in March 2013 under the Fair Housing Act.  The court held that HUD had issued the rule—codified at 24 C.F.R. § 100.500—in contravention of the plain language of the Fair Housing Act.  The case is styled American Insurance Association, et al. v. United States Department of Housing & Urban Development, et al., Case No. 1:13-cv-00966-RJL (D.D.C.).

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