Federal laws such as the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended, prohibit discrimination in providing credit or credit-related services. Both laws prohibit discrimination in residential real estate transactions, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act also prohibits discrimination in consumer and business or commercial loans. In all credit transactions you are protected from discrimination that occurs on the basis of your race, color, religion, sex, marital status, age (provided the applicant has the capacity to contract), national origin, or receipt of public assistance, or because you have exercised a right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. In credit transactions related to housing, you are also protected from discrimination because of family status or disability. According to these laws, when you apply for credit a creditor may not:

When deciding whether to give you credit a creditor may not:

When evaluating your income, a creditor may not:

You also have the right to:

If you think you have been discriminated against by a bank, savings and loan association, credit union, farm credit system institution, store, or other creditor:

write to the agency in charge of enforcing the equal credit practices of that lender.

A creditor must give you the name and address of the appropriate enforcement agency when it turns down the terms you request or denies you credit. If a lender does not offer you this information or refuses to give it to you, write to the appropriate agency in the list that follows. These agencies may not resolve individual complaints, but they will use consumer comments to decide which companies to investigate.

You should also complain if you think a lender is “redlining”—refusing to make loans, or setting different conditions for loans, on property in a community because of the area’s racial, religious, or ethnic population. When certain financial institutions try to get approval from their regulatory agency to:

individuals and community groups have an opportunity to comment on whether the institution is redlining as an objection to its approval for the proposed transaction. You can request the regulatory agency to place you on its mailing list so you are aware of the comment period for:

Comptroller of the Currency
Compliance Management
Independence Square
250 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20219
(202) 874-5216
TTY: (202) 922-3275

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Division of Consumer and Community Affairs
20th and C Streets, NW
Mail Stop 800
Washington, DC 20551-0001
(202) 452-3693
Fax: (202) 728-5850


Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Publications Services
20th and C Streets, NW
Mail Stop 127
Washington, DC 20551-0001
(202) 452-3245

a state-chartered bank insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (it will display the FDIC symbol) and not a member of the Federal Reserve System. Write to one of the regional offices or to:

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Consumer Affairs
550 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20429
(202) 736-0000
(800) 934-3342
TTY: (202) 942-3147
TTY: (800) 925-4618

a federally insured savings association or federally chartered savings bank. Write to one of the regional offices of the Office of Thrift Supervision or to:

Office of Thrift Supervision
Consumer Programs
1700 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20552
(202) 906-6237
(800) 842-6929
Fax: (202) 906-6326

Although federal credit unions are not subject to the Community Reinvestment Act, they must comply with fair lending laws and the nondiscrimination rules issued by their regulators. Forward any complaint to one of the regional offices of the National Credit Union Administration or to:

National Credit Union Administration
Office of Public and Congressional Affairs
1775 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-3428
(703) 518-6300
TTY: (703) 518-6332
Fax: (703) 518-6429

Complaints against a state-chartered credit union should be forwarded to the state office that oversees credit unions or to the Federal Trade Commission.

Complaints against an institution of the U.S. Cooperative Farm Credit System, such as farm credit banks, federal land bank associations, production credit associations, agricultural credit banks, federal land credit associations, and agricultural credit associations should be forwarded to:

Farm Credit Administration
Office of Congressional and Public Affairs
1501 Farm Credit Drive
McLean, VA 22102-5090
(703) 883-4056
TTY: (703) 883-4444
Fax: (703) 790-3260

Complaints of discrimination in benefits or services provided by recipients of Small Business Administration (SBA) financial assistance or SBA program offices should be forwarded to:

U.S. Small Business Administration
Equal Employment Opportunity and Civil Rights Compliance
409 Third Street, SW, Suite 6400
Washington, DC 20416
(202) 205-6750
TTY: (202) 205-7150
Fax: (202) 205-7580

If you think you have been discriminated against in violation of the Fair Housing Act, contact one of the HUD enforcement centers or:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Office of Investigations
451 Seventh Street, SW, Room 5204
Washington, DC 20410-2000
(202) 619-8041
(202) 708-0836
Hot line: (800) 669-9777
TTY: (800) 927-9275
Fax: (202) 708-1425

Financial institutions have an obligation to meet the credit needs of your community, even though it may be characterized by low- or moderate-income residents. The Department of Justice handles discrimination complaints filed against all kinds of creditors. It may sue lenders who show a pattern or practice of equal credit opportunity violations, or file suit in cases referred to it by the agencies that initially investigate complaints. To contact the Department of Justice, call or write to:

U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
(202) 514-4713
Fax: (202) 514-1116

For more information on discrimination in credit-lending and credit-related services, including information about bringing suit under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, call the Federal Trade Commission or write to:

Federal Trade Commission
Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
(202) 326-3758
(202) 326-2222
Hot line: (866) 653-4261
TTY: (202) 326-2502
Fax: (202) 326-2050