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What does that Equal Credit Opportunity Logo Really Mean?

Think of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) as a sort of a civil rights act for credit. Creditors are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because you receive public assistance. This means they are not able to deny, grant or provide different terms based upon those factors. You probably have noticed that various applications may ask these types of questions, but they are not allowed to make a credit decision based upon this information; this information is likely used for marketing or other unrelated reasons. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act includes all credit companies including department store cards, mortgage companies, real estate companies, banks, small loan companies and credit unions.

Credit Companies may NOT:

 

Think of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) as a sort of a civil rights act for credit. Creditors are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because you receive public assistance. This means they are not able to deny, grant or provide different terms based upon those factors. You probably have noticed that various applications may ask these types of questions, but they are not allowed to make a credit decision based upon this information; this information is likely used for marketing or other unrelated reasons. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act includes all credit companies including department store cards, mortgage companies, real estate companies, banks, small loan companies and credit unions.

Credit Companies may NOT:

  • Discourage, deny, approve, or offer different terms based upon your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because you receive public assistance.

  • May not ask if you are widowed or divorced, though they may ask if you are married, unmarried or separated.

  • Ask your marital status for a separate, unsecured account (like a credit card). This applies unless you are in a community property state, which does include Arizona.

  • They may not ask you to provide information about your spouse unless they are applying with you, will be allowed access to your account, if you are relying on their income, or live in a community property state (Arizona).

  • Absolutely may not ask if you have children or if you plan to have children.

 

Credit Companies MAY:

 

  • Consider your age ONLY if they are asking to be sure you are over 18 or if they are willing to provide you special services for being over 62; such as a reverse mortgage.

  • Consider your application based upon whether or not you have a telephone. Really!

  • Ask for proof of income or other credit based information.

 

 

If you think your rights have been violated:

 

  • First tell the creditor you suspect that you have been violated. They may reconsider their procedures.

  • Check with the Attorney General if there are other reports against this company.

  • You can sue the company in Federal Court for damages and legal fees. Be sure to contact a lawyer to make sure you have a case.

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Wednesday, 01 December 2021
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