What Is the Equal Credit Opportunity Act?

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) is a federal law that prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because an applicant has exercised his or her rights under the Consumer Credit Protection Act.

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What is the Equal Credit Opportunity Act?

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act is a federal law that prohibits lenders from discriminating against borrowers on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status or age. The act also requires lenders to disclose credit terms and conditions to all applicants in a clear and consistent manner.

How does the Equal Credit Opportunity Act protect consumers?

Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), it is illegal for a creditor to discriminate against you based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status or age. The ECOA also prohibits discrimination based on receipt of income from public assistance programs or because you have exercised your rights under the Consumer Credit Protection Act.

If you apply for credit, the creditor must consider your application without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex or marital status. The creditor also may not ask about your plans for having children or whether you are pregnant. If you are married and live in a community property state (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas or Washington), the creditor may consider your spouse’s income and debts when evaluating your application.

The ECOA requires creditors to give you important information about your rights under the law and information about credit reporting companies. When you are denied credit or offered less favorable terms than another applicant (such as a higher interest rate), the creditor must give you specific reasons for the adverse action. These reasons may include information about your income, debts and credit history.

What are the exceptions to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act?

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) is a federal law that prevents creditors from discriminating against borrowers on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status or age. The ECOA also requires creditors to provide equal credit opportunities to all qualified applicants and to make credit decisions without considering any extraneous factors.

There are a few exceptions to the ECOA:
-Creditors may consider sex when making credit decisions if the Applicant is seeking credit for the purpose of purchasing or leasing property that will be used as a dwelling.
-Creditors may consider an Applicant’s marital status when making credit decisions if the Applicant is seeking credit in connection with a divorce or legal separation agreement.
-Creditors may consider an Applicant’s age when making credit decisions if the Applicant is under 21 years old and is seeking credit in connection with an application for a student loan.

How can you file a complaint under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act?

If you think a creditor has violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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