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Harvard Law and Policy Review

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credit inequality, financial discrimination, Equal Credit Opportunity Act


Banking and Finance Law | Law


In the wake of the devastating effects of the global financial crisis and the collapse of the national housing market, non-profit organizations, private citizens, and government agencies have increasingly filed discrimination lawsuits against creditors and mortgage lenders for extending credit to minority borrowers on terms less favorable than those offered to white borrowers with similar risk profiles. These lawsuits argue that creditors pursued discriminatory policies, which, although neutral on their face, have had an adverse and indefensible “disparate impact” on minority borrowers in violation of numerous antidiscrimination laws, including the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).

Indeed, volumes of evidence now reveal that these challenged practices directly contributed to minority communities across the country suffering a greater loss of wealth during the crisis and a slower recovery in the wake of the crisis.



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