On February 9, the FTC provided the CFPB and the Federal Reserve Board with its annual letter that summarizes its activities enforcing the ECOA and its implementing regulation, Regulation B, in the prior year. The FTC is in charge of ECOA enforcement for financial service providers that are not banks, thrifts, or federal credit unions. In accordance with the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB has rulemaking and enforcement authority over ECOA, and the FTC retains its authority to enforce ECOA, as well as authority to enforce any CFPB rules applicable to entities within the FTC’s jurisdiction. As set forth in full in the letter, the FTC describes its work in areas such as enforcement, research, and policy development, including:
- Two cases against auto dealership groups where the dealerships were charged with discriminating on interest rate markups and charging illegal junk fees in violation of ECOA;
- A staff report warning of reliance on artificial intelligence to combat online problems, noting that such intelligence can contain inaccuracy and bias;
- The FTC’s membership of the Interagency Task Force on Fair Lending, which together with other agency groups shares information and discusses policy issues; and
- The FTC’s participation as a member of the Interagency Fair Lending Methodologies Working Group, which, along with other agency groups, coordinates and shares information on methodologies used in enforcement and compliance supervision of fair lending laws.
Putting it into Practice: With this letter, the FTC discusses its continued efforts to provide education, specifically with regard to guidance for consumers on credit discrimination, data released by the FTC on harm to people living in majority Black communities arising from fraud and other consumer problems, and guidance with regards to settlements when similar cases arise. This letter highlights the FTC’s work to promote competition and protect and educate consumers, with emphasis on its partnership with the CFPB to do so.