Where Wall Street Meets C Street: Reimagining Civil Rights Enforcement of Large Financial Institutions
Columbia University - Law School
Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-376
There are persistent disparities in access to credit by racial and ethnic minorities, including both the total denial of credit and the extension of credit on inferior terms than those given to other individuals with comparable credit qualifications. While there is significant normative agreement that such discrimination is wrong, that agreement fractures over the attendant issues of how widespread such discrimination is and how to design and implement an enforcement structure that addresses discrimination based on the economic realities of lending by financial institutions. Thus far, the major civil rights statutes governing discrimination in access to credit, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Housing Act, have proven ineffective at both deterring such discrimination and in holding financial institutions accountable for violations. This paper sets out to re-consider the societal and economic costs of such discrimination, and to propose another system of enforcement informed by the securities and banking laws that emphasizes increasing transparency, frontline enforcement, and greater accountability for violations.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 41
Keywords: discrimination, civil rights, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Housing Act, financial institutions
Date posted: February 27, 2014