The Dodd- Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protect Act of 2010 establishes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and requires it to establish five divisions including the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity. In addition, as a federal financial regulator, the Bureau has a duty affirmatively further fair housing under The Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended.
The term ‘‘fair lending’’ is defined in the Act to mean” fair, equitable, and nondiscriminatory access to credit for consumers.” This definition provides the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with the discretion to broadly interpret and define what constitutes a fair lending violation under the Act.
The Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity has the power to enforce both the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.
The Bureau is responsible for:
• oversight and enforcement of Federal laws intended to ensure the fair, equitable, and nondiscriminatory access to credit for both individuals and communities that are enforced by the Bureau;
• coordinating fair lending efforts of the Bureau with other Federal agencies and State regulators, as appropriate;
• promoting consistent, efficient, and effective enforcement of Federal fair lending laws;
• working with private industry, fair lending, civil rights, consumer and community advocates on the promotion of fair lending compliance and education; and
• providing annual reports to Congress on the efforts of the Bureau to fulfill its fair lending mandate.
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act was amended to require the collection of Small Business Loan Data. The purpose of this amendment is “to facilitate enforcement of fair lending laws and enable communities, governmental entities, and creditors to identify business and community development needs and opportunities of women-owned, minority owned, and small businesses.”