A coalition representing a broad cross-section of consumers, including communities of color and communities with lower incomes, urged a federal court to uphold the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) authority to hold financial institutions accountable for discriminatory practices. Click here for the press release.
The brief, filed by Democracy Forward on behalf of the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC), National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB), Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), Texas Appleseed, and the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), urges the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas to reject the arguments advanced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Bankers Association, the Consumer Bankers Association, and four trade groups from Texas as they seek to gut the CFPB’s authority to protect consumers from discriminatory practices.
Chamber v. CFPB is the latest salvo against the CFPB’s authority to protect consumers, which has been the target of right-wing legal challenges. Fourteen right-wing state Attorneys General – from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia – are on record in this case seeking to eliminate the agency’s authority to protect consumers from discrimination across all financial services.
Financial institutions have a long history of discriminatory practices that have resulted in many populations, including people of color, having inadequate access to financial services. The coalition’s brief details how persistent discrimination in the financial services industry poses significant barriers to full and equitable participation in the economy by people of color, women, and other marginalized groups. For example, people of color are discriminated against in attempts to open bank accounts and cash checks, families of color receive predatory loans at higher rates than white borrowers, and discrimination prevents businesses owned by people of color and women from accessing credit. Discrimination in financial services has hurt the economy to the tune of $16 trillion since 2000. The brief also explains that discrimination clearly may meet the definition of an “unfair” practice as laid out in the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
The groups submitting the brief are leading advocates in the banking and business sectors for communities of color and communities with low incomes. They are also at the forefront of research on discrimination within the credit and banking industries.