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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB outlines lending discrimination warning signs for small businesses applying for PPP loans

Federal Issues CFPB SBA CARES Act Small Business Lending Covid-19

Federal Issues

On April 27, the CFPB posted a reminder that federal laws such as ECOA protect business owners from discrimination on the basis of protected characteristics when applying for loans under the CARES Act Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program or other loan programs. The Bureau’s blog post provides several examples of potential lending discrimination warning signs, including (i) being refused for an available loan or workout option even though the business meets the advertised requirements; (ii) being offered credit or workout options with higher rates or worse terms even though the business may be eligible for lower rates; (iii) being discouraged by a lender from applying due to a protected characteristic; (iv) being denied credit without being told why; and (v) receiving negative comments about race, national origin, sex, or other protected characteristics. Lending discrimination complaints may be submitted here, and the Bureau notes that it takes complaint information into account when conducting supervisory and enforcement work.

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