Op-ed: Banks fight for the right to discriminate

by Jeff Sovern

Here, in the NY Daily News. My latest op-ed. Excerpt:

You might not expect that in the year 2022, businesses would go to court asserting a right to discriminate. Yet that is essentially what the Chamber of Commerce and various banking groups did last month when they sued the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Chamber argues that the CFPB is breaking the law by checking if financial institutions discriminate when they decide whether to allow them to open checking accounts. Under the Chamber’s approach, it appears that the Bureau could not do anything if, for example, a bank told customers that it would not open checking accounts for people of their race.

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At the same time the banking groups argue that they should be free from consequences for discrimination, individual banks proclaim their commitment to diversity. Thus, JPMorgan Chase says it does not tolerate discrimination against customers while Citibank says it will work to “increase representation of people of color on Citi accounts.” The lawsuit undermines these claims.

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