The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) makes it illegal for a creditor to discriminate in any aspect of a credit transaction based on certain characteristics.
ECOA prohibits discrimination based on:
- Race or color
- National origin
- Marital status
- Age (provided the applicant has the capacity to contract)
- The applicant’s receipt of income derived from any public assistance program
- The applicant’s exercise, in good faith, of any right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act
Note: The CFPB interprets the prohibition on sex discrimination to cover sexual orientation.
The Primary Purpose of ECOA
The primary purpose of ECOA is to prevent discrimination in the granting of credit by requiring banks and other creditors to make extensions of credit equally available to all creditworthy applicants with fairness, impartiality and without discrimination on any prohibited basis.