The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) prohibits creditors from discriminating against applicants based on race, religion, marital status, sex, and other characteristics. In August 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) sought comment on actions the agency could take to prevent credit discrimination, ensure compliance, and provide guidance on a number of issues, including sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.
There are approximately 11.3 million LGBT adults in the U.S. More than 7.7 million live in states without explicit statutory protections against SOGI discrimination in credit. Research indicates that same-sex couples experience discrimination in mortgage lending, which could contribute to lower homeownership rates among same-sex couples and LGBT people.
Williams Institute scholars recommended that CFPB interpret the ECOA to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County. In addition, scholars suggested that CFPB inform creditors of the types of discrimination against LGBTQ people that violate the law and require creditors to collect information about sexual orientation and gender identity from applicants.