The proposed rule by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is related to a requirement that financial institutions collect data that would help CFPB enforce fair lending laws and identify business needs and opportunities for minority-owned, women-owned, and all other small businesses. The demographic data to be collected would include the ethnicity, race, and sex of the principal owners of the applicant business. CFPB’s proposal currently does not include questions about principal owners’ sexual orientation or gender identity.
Once finalized, CFPB’s rule would create the first comprehensive database of small business credit applications in the United States. Adding sexual orientation and gender identity questions would allow CFPB to address bias in lending and identify particular needs and experiences of LGBT small-business owners. Currently, more than 7.7 million LGBT adults live in states without explicit statutory protections against discrimination in credit based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The comment documents research from the Williams Institute that demonstrates ongoing experiences of discrimination of LGBT people in public and private domains. Scholars present data on economic and other disparities LGBT people face compared to their non-LGBT peers, and discuss the obstacles that LGBT adults face when attempting to access credit. In addition, the comment provides guidance on the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity information.