Bloomberg: Consumer Bureau Said to Warn Banks of Auto Lending Suits

by Jeff Sovern

Here.  The first two sentences say:

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has told at least four banks that it may sue them over vehicle loans and interest-rate markups by auto dealers that appear discriminatory, according to three people briefed on the matter.

The banks received letters from the CFPB last week giving them 15 days to provide an explanation of the practice, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. The letters indicate the bureau believes the banks may have violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, a 1974 law that bars discrimination in lending.

It's hard to tell from the article exactly what the Bureau thinks the banks may have done, but in the past lenders have told car dealers a minimum interest rate that they were willing to offer customers and given the dealers discretion to offer higher rates (the lenders and dealers share the excess over the minimum rate). Consumer advocates later claimed that many dealers given such discretion charged higher rates to people of color, and so the act of the lenders of giving the dealers discretion led to discrimination against protected classes in violation of ECOA.  Perhaps the Bureau suspects that that is what is happening, or maybe something different is going on. 

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