CFPB, Justice Agree to Coordinate
Fair Lending Enforcement
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Justice Department yesterday signed an agreement to coordinate their fair lending enforcement efforts and avoid duplication, the agencies said in a joint press release.
Both the CFPB and the Justice Department have authority to protect against discriminatory lending under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. But the Dodd-Frank Act also authorizes the bureau to conduct joint investigations with the justice department on fair lending-related matters.
Under the memorandum of understanding they signed, both agencies will meet regularly on investigations and establish strict confidentiality for shared information. The CFPB, like other federal banking regulators, will refer matters to the Justice Department, "when it has reason to believe that a creditor has engaged in a pattern or practice of lending discrimination," the memorandum said.
The agencies also agreed to notify each other at key stages of their enforcement work, such as an investigation's opening or when a lawsuit is filed. The Justice Department "welcomes the new tools and resources the CFPB can bring to the fight against lending discrimination," said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for Justice's Civil Rights Division.