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Credit Discrimination

Learn About Age Discrimination

Learn About Age Discrimination

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) was established in order to ensure that all individuals have an equal opportunity to obtain credit. The ECOA prohibits creditors from discriminating against individuals based on their sex, age, race, or marital status. Therefore, creditors cannot deny credit to an individual for any reason that is deemed unacceptable.
An acceptable reason to deny an applicant credit, as harsh as it may seem, is low income. However, there are some instances in which a creditor is not permitted to automatically deny an applicant credit based on their income. In order to avoid age discrimination, the ECOA prohibits creditors from denying an individual credit simply because they rely on Social Security benefits or retirement packages as their primary means of income.
Also, part-time employment cannot automatically disqualify an individual from obtaining credit. These measures have been taken primarily to protect the elderly from age discrimination.
The ECOA defines an elderly person as an individual who has reached the age of 62. In most cases, once an individual reaches this age they will start to consider retirement. An individual who has retired no longer has a steady income as a result of employment, but survives through Social Security benefits, retirement savings plans, and pension plans.
An elderly individual may choose to continue to work part-time in order to keep himself/herself busy or to make some extra money. In either situation, his/her income will be lower relative to the wages earned while he/she was employed in a full-time position.
Creditors generally consider granting credit to elderly individuals to be a risk because they fear that they will be unable to pay the debt that they accrue. As a result, many creditors refuse to extend credit to elderly individuals outright. Since the ECOA was enacted in 1974, however, creditors have been prohibited from discriminating in this manner.
Though the ECOA expresses concern about age discrimination against the elderly, this legislation unfortunately does little to protect young individuals from age discrimination. A creditor may refuse to grant a young adult credit based on their lack of financial experience. If a college student maintains a low income because they only work a limited number of hours every week, a creditor may deny the applicant credit because of their low income.
In most cases, a young adult will be unable to obtain a loan for expensive property, such as a motor vehicle or a house because they have not yet had the opportunity to establish positive credit or because they have not maintained a well-paying job for a long period of time.
Generally, creditors argue that extending large quantities of credit to a young adult is a very risky move, as there is often no evidence that they are financially responsible. However, many individuals feel that denying a young adult credit based on their inexperience is a form of age discrimination, as inexperience does not necessarily equate to irresponsibility. Therefore, although the ECOA has taken steps to prevent age discrimination against the elderly, more needs to be done to combat the same discrimination against young adults.

Learn About Discrimination Against Women

Learn About Discrimination Against Women

Discrimination against women is a serious problem that continues to manifest itself in different ways in the United States. In previous generations, the common mentality regarding women emphasized their responsibility to maintain the household and care for their family, while men were accountable for guaranteeing an income to pay the bills. In the last half century, however, the power and authority held by women has increased a great deal and major strides have been made in discrimination based on sex.
However, discrimination is still intricately interwoven into the consciousness of many people throughout the country, and therefore, it is still present in all arenas, including in domestic situations, employment, and when a women is applying for credit. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Federal Fair Housing Act, and state governments have taken steps to end credit discrimination against women.
The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits a creditor from practicing discrimination against women when a woman is seeking credit for real estate purposes. This includes credit that is intended to be utilized in order to purchase a home and credit that a woman seeks to improve and maintain her home.
The ECOA also prohibits discrimination against women. Indeed, there are various different ways that a creditor may discriminate against women. For example, a creditor may classify a male-specific job, such as a policeman, as more valuable and more important than the female counterpart. Therefore, a man who is employed as a policeman may be granted credit, while a woman who is employed as a policewoman may be extended less credit or denied it altogether.
Collectively, the Federal Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act prevent creditors from ignoring alimony, child support, and part-time employment as an adequate form of income. Creditors are also forbidden from forcing married women to include information about their husbands if they are applying for credit on their own.
The Federal Fair Housing Act, the ECOA, and state legislation only require a woman to provide information about her husband if he will have access to the account or if he will be responsible for paying the debt that is accrued on the account. If a married woman will be the only individual with access to the account and she will be solely accountable for the account, then forcing her to include her husband’s information is a form of sexual discrimination.
In addition, the Federal Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act forbid discrimination against women based on their marital status. If a creditor considers the joined income of a married couple when authorizing a joint obligation, then they also must consider the combined incomes of an unmarried couple that is applying for the same financial guarantee.
Women may often find it difficult to obtain credit because they may not have the necessary records exhibiting a positive credit history. In many cases, when a woman changes her name after marriage she will lose her credit history. In other instances, a creditor will only list a husband’s name when they report joint accounts for which both spouses have been responsible. Without evidence of a good credit history, an individual will usually be unable to obtain a loan, another one of the many ways that the system discriminates against women.

Be Aware of Racial Discrimination

Be Aware of Racial Discrimination

Many individuals like to believe that racial discrimination is a thing of the past in the United States. Although the United States has made great progress in the realm of civil rights, racial discrimination has in no way disappeared. It is a troubling reality of our nation and of our world.
Individuals who are of a minority racial group often grow up in low-income communities, and they are generally enrolled in inadequate public education systems which are understaffed and underfunded. In light of the ineffective educational systems in these areas, very few individuals from poor communities will continue their education in college. In most cases, these people will be unable to attain a high-paying job, which may lead to trouble obtaining a loan.
Some creditors have been known to disregard income and simply deny credit based on an individual’s race. The United States Federal Government passed the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and the Community Reinvestment Act in part to curb racially discriminatory practices in extending credit. 

Must Know Before Reporting Credit Discrimination

Must Know Before Reporting Credit Discrimination

Although federal and state consumer protection laws prohibit lenders from discriminating against applicants for any reason, prejudice continues to exist throughout the country. Consumer protection laws do not stop some creditors from refusing to extend an applicant credit based on his/her race, sex, age, religion, or marital status. This behavior is unacceptable, and if an individual is the victim of credit discrimination, he/she should report it to the appropriate authorities.
Attempting to report a creditor that violates consumer protection laws may be intimidating. Often, a victim is unsure of who to contact. As a matter of fact, no national hotlines have been established in order to offer assistance and advice to victims of credit discrimination. However, there are some organizations, such as the National Consumer Law Center, that work with consumers in order to ensure that their rights are protected.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) dedicates a great deal of resources to enhancing consumer protection. An individual who has experienced unlawful discrimination should report the offending company to the Federal Trade Commission.
This organization utilizes consumer complaints in order to compose an electronic database of company misconduct, which will be available for thousands of criminal investigators around the world to access. Though the FTC is not responsible for addressing individual cases, the complaints that are filed will assist in identifying companies that exhibit patterns of unlawful behavior and discriminatory lending practices.
If an applicant believes that a lender or a company has disregarded federal or state consumer protection laws, the victim should also report the offense to the agency that monitors that creditor. Each state has an agency specifically designated to address consumer protection.
For example, in New Jersey, the Division of Consumer Affairs is responsible for presiding over issues of identity theft, financial fraud, and economic discrimination. If the misconduct occurred during a real estate transaction, the victim should make a complaint to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD allows an individual to file a complaint online, over the phone, or by mail. If an individual believes that his/her rights have been encroached upon, than he/she may choose to speak with an attorney.
Violating consumer protection laws is a very serious offense. If an applicant has been subjected to credit discrimination or housing discrimination, the National Consumer Law Center can provide him/her with essential advice and information. This organization is devoted to enhancing consumer protection throughout the country. The National Consumer Law Center is the expert on consumer problems, especially issues related to low-income individuals.
Because of their extensive research and knowledge, many policymakers rely on the information provided by this organization for the development of legislation. The National Consumer Law Center provides new and experienced attorneys with consultation services, so that these lawyers may better understand the issues that are faced by low-income consumers.
The organization has compiled numerous volumes of information regarding consumer protection laws, credit discrimination, and consumer analysis. The National Consumer Law Center has also undertaken various initiatives in order to address the challenges faced by low-income consumers, as well as credit discrimination.
They address the issues faced by the elderly, immigrants, and victims of domestic violence, as well as many other underprivileged individuals. The work of the National Consumer Law Center and other Federal consumer protection organizations have made a great deal of progress in limiting the occurrence of credit discrimination.