Discrimination is an unfortunate and upsetting reality of our society. Despite the fact the United States Federal Government and state governments have taken various types of action to outlaw discrimination, it continues to persist throughout the nation.
Discrimination occurs on all levels in various realms, and it may be based on numerous personal characteristics. Prejudice related to discrimination can be witnessed on the streets, in classrooms, and in office buildings. One particularly troubling variant is credit discrimination. Lenders have the right to deny an applicant credit for a variety of different reasons. If an individual has not secured an acceptable income, then a creditor can refuse to extend credit to that applicant.
However, many lenders use their authority to blatantly discriminate against applicants. Lenders have often refused to grant credit to an individual based on his/her race, sex, religion, and age. In order to help combat credit discrimination, the United States Federal Government has enacted various types of legislation prohibiting discriminatory practices.
Role of the ECOA and FHA Age Discrimination
Throughout history, lenders have been known to discriminate against applicants based on a variety of different factors. One factor that has often been taken into account by creditors is the age of the individual who is applying for credit. In many instances, a lender may oppose the idea of granting credit to an elderly individual. A common mentality amongst lenders is that elderly individuals are a high-risk investment.
In many cases, an elderly individual does not maintain a primary income from employment, and instead they rely on pension plans and retirement funds to supply necessary resources. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) was established in order to help ensure that lenders do not practice age discrimination, especially against elderly applicants.
Discrimination Against Women
Throughout the majority of history, women have been perceived as inferior to men. They have not been granted the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities with which men have been entrusted. However, in the last half century, women have gained a great deal of authority and have made great strides in attaining power. Nevertheless, discrimination against women continues to be a troubling reality throughout the nation. Women are often treated as subordinates to their male counterparts, and they often receive a smaller salary then men who are responsible for the same duties and tasks.
Likewise, women may find it difficult to obtain loans, while men of a similar situation may not have any difficulty. There are many different aspects of the credit system that breed discrimination against women. The Federal Fair Housing Act (FFHA) was also established in order to help abolish gender discrimination by lenders. This Act also prohibits discrimination based on marital status, which is often an integral part discrimination against women.
In the United States, the Civil Rights Movement resulted in strides against racial discrimination within the legal system. However, racial discrimination is still widespread throughout the nation and can be witnessed in many different domains. Throughout much of history, lenders have discriminated against minority racial groups by refusing to grant them credit. Creditors often cite the tendency of minority communities to maintain low incomes as a primary reason they do not extend loans to individuals of a minority race.
Lenders have often been found to use methods of effectively violating government regulations aimed at preventing racial discrimination. Accordingly, the Federal Government enacted the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Both of these Acts were intended to diminish racial discrimination employed by lenders. Under this new legislation, lenders are required to meet the needs of all individuals within their vicinity, despite the race of the applicant.
Other Forms of Credit Discrimination
Discrimination can happen to any individual for any number of reasons. Though Federal legislation prohibits such behavior, companies and lenders can choose to discriminate against an applicant based on something as banal as eye color. While race, sex, age, and religion are the most common characteristics to be at the center of discrimination, they are not the only traits about which individuals maintain prejudices.
One type of credit discrimination that is beginning to gain national attention is discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, there are many other reasons that applicants experience discrimination. Federal legislation is not very specific in the types of discrimination that is prohibited under Federal law. Therefore, individuals who are subjected to discrimination based on sexual orientation, or any other characteristics, are not protected under Federal law. In order to address this problem, numerous states have chosen to create legislation that increases the scope of consumer protection.
Reporting Credit Discrimination
Credit discrimination is a very troubling occurrence in the United States. Like all forms of prejudice and discrimination, this type of bigotry should be reported to the appropriate authorities. If a victim of credit discrimination reports a company’s misconduct, these creditors may receive due consequences for their discriminatory practices. However, in order for an unjust and corrupt corporation to receive penalties for their behavior, individuals must first report the discrimination they have experienced.
There are various different organizations and agencies that have been established in order to ensure that consumers remain protected. These organizations exist at both the Federal and the state level. An individual can contact a federal organization or a state agency in order to report misconduct on the part of creditors and corporations.
Generally, consumer protection agencies will not be permitted to address specific personal cases. However, the complaints that are filed may be included in a communal case against a questionable corporation. An individual who believes that they have been the victim of credit discrimination may want to speak with an attorney about a possible course of action as well.