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.