Highlights from the CFPB’s 2022 fair lending report
On June 29, the CFPB issued its annual fair lending report to Congress which outlines the Bureau’s efforts in 2022 to fulfill its fair lending mandate. Much of the Bureau’s work in 2022 was directed towards unlawful discrimination in the home appraisal industry and addressing redlining. According to the report, the CFPB also honed its efforts on factors that influence fair access to credit which included insight into factors affecting consumers’ credit profiles. The report highlights one fair lending enforcement action from 2022, where the CFPB and DOJ filed a joint complaint and proposed consent order against a company for allegedly violating ECOA, Regulation B, and the CFPA by discouraging prospective applicants from applying for credit. Notably, the Bureau notes that under section 704 of ECOA, it must refer any cases with instances of a creditor being believed to have engaged in a “pattern or practice of lending discrimination” to the DOJ. According to the report, the FDIC, NCUA, Federal Reserve Board, and CFPB collectively made 23 such referrals to the DOJ in 2022, a 91 percent increase from 2020. Five of the 23 matters were sent by the CFPB, four of which involved alleged racial discrimination in redlining, and one involving alleged discrimination in underwriting based on receipt of public assistance income. The report also discusses the CFPB’s risk-based prioritization process that resulted in initiatives concerning small business lending, policies and procedures on exclusions in underwriting, and the use of artificial intelligence. Moving forward, the Bureau will continue its collaborative approach with other agencies and prioritize areas such as combating bias in home appraisals, redlining, and the use of advanced technologies in financial services. Additionally, the report states that by focusing on restorative outcomes, comprehensive remedies, and equal economic opportunities, the CFPB aims to create a fair, equitable, and nondiscriminatory credit market for consumers.