1974 - Equal Credit Opportunity Act

Policy Name: Equal Credit Opportunity Act, (H.R. 11221)

Date: Effective 28, 1974

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act’s (ECOA) prohibited creditors from discriminating against applicants based on race, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, age, or the economic status of receiving public assistance. This civil rights law ultimately increased access to credit for women and people of color. Policymakers and consumer advocates used ECOA to combat predatory lending discrimination in the early 2000s against lenders that preyed on African-American and low-income communities.

ECOA applies to any person or entity that participates in a credit decision, including banks, credit unions, retailers, and finance companies. The law covers a variety of loans, such as car loans, credit cards, mortgages, student loans, and small business loans.

In 2011, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act transferred rulemaking authority for ECOA, known as Regulation B, from the Federal Reserve Board to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.