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Fair Lending Program

Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez Speaks at the 13th Annual Gathering of the Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit. (January 14, 2010) Read the Statement

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Foreclosure Rescue Scams and Loan Modification Fraud Press Conference (April 6, 2009) Read the Statement

The Department of Justice has authority to investigate and file a fair lending lawsuit under the Fair Housing Act or the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Read more about recent fair lending cases.

The Justice Departmentís fair lending enforcement authority is focused on pattern or practice discrimination cases. Individuals who believe they are the victims of unfair credit transactions should contact other federal agencies that investigate individual complaints.

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act [ECOA], 15 U.S.C. 1691 et seq., prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because an applicant receives income from a public assistance program or exercises rights protected under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has issued regulations under ECOA. These regulations, known as Regulation B, provide the substantive and procedural framework for fair lending enforcement under ECOA.

Other federal agencies have general regulatory authority over certain types of lenders, and they monitor creditors for their compliance with ECOA. ECOA requires these agencies to refer matters to the Justice Department when there is reason to believe that a creditor is engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination which violates ECOA. These agencies also may refer to the Justice Department matters involving an individual incident of discrimination. Each year, the Department files a report with Congress on its activities under the statute. Read Justice Department annual ECOA reports to Congress.

The Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act, 42 USC 3601 et seq., prohibits discrimination in home mortgage loans, home improvement loans, and other residential credit transactions, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status or disability. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued regulations under the Fair Housing Act, including regulations addressing fair lending issues. 24 C.F.R. Part 100, Subpart C