Gillibrand bill would expand CFPB data collection to spot lending discrimination

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced Monday that she will introduce a bill to require broader data collection on thousands of loan and credit applications in a bid to crack down on lending discrimination.

Gillibrand, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said that she would sponsor a proposal to drastically expand the amount of data reported to and analyzed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from banks, lenders and credit card companies. {mosads}

“People depend on credit to be able to buy a car, start a business, and get personal loans,” Gillibrand said in a statement.

“Access to fair credit is essential to establishing financial well-being, but if someone is discriminated against and can only get expensive terms for their loans, it becomes harder for them to get ahead in life.”

Gillibrand’s bill is the latest proposal among several offered by 2020 Democratic hopefuls that would boost oversight and regulation of major portions of the economy, including the financial sector.

The New York senator has also proposed a bill to establish banking services at federal post offices, an idea popular on the left of the Democratic Party.

Called the Protections in Consumer Lending Act, the bill announced Monday would require any lending or credit firm to collect demographic information from customers seeking automobile loans, credit cards, cash checking services, short-term loans and loans with annual percentage rates above 36 percent.

Banks and lenders would be required to collect the age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex and marital status of applicants for those products and report it to the CFPB, along with whether the applicants were approved or denied for the product.

The CFPB would then be required to analyze the data for any discriminatory trends, including whether applicants of a certain group were less likely to be approved than other applicants.

Democrats have fiercely criticized the CFPB for easing its oversight of lending discrimination and data collection under former acting Director Mick Mulvaney, who led the agency from November 2017 through December 2018.

Mulvaney sought to reign in the CFPB, created in 2010 to enforce fair lending and consumer protection laws, after six years of aggressive oversight and regulation under Democratic leadership.

Republican lawmakers who have long been critical of the agency also repealed legal guidance used by CFPB in enforcement actions against auto companies and lenders accused of discrimination.

Democrats say the proposed bill would help protect communities from predatory lending.

“We cannot protect communities of color and LGBTQ people from predatory and discriminatory lending if we don’t understand the problem,” said Rep. Jesús García (D-Ill.), who is sponsoring a House version of the legislation.

The bill has been endorsed by several progressive groups, including Human Rights Campaign, NAACP, UnidosUS, National Urban League, Americans for Financial Reform, and the National Consumer Law Center.

But the legislation is likely to fail in the GOP-controlled Senate, where Republicans are almost certain to oppose an expansion of CFPB data-collection authority.

Tags 2020 election CFPB Democratic primary Kirsten Gillibrand Mick Mulvaney Senate
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