In contrast to the banking agencies' practice of examining all banks for evidence of credit discrimination
, the federal employment and housing agencies do not employ routine examinations to enforce antidiscrimination statutes.
The retention of these records is intended to allow the systematic review and analysis of creditors' possible use of race, age, national origin, and other prohibited bases of credit discrimination
in connection with prescreened solicitations.
Over the past four years, the Federal Reserve investigated approximately 2,574 complaints involving credit transactions--most of which involved issues other than credit discrimination
. A very small number involved business or agricultural loans.
In the meantime, the Federal Reserve has referred ten complaints that allege mortgage credit discrimination
to the Department of Housing and Urban Development under an interagency cooperation agreement signed last year.
I appreciate the opportunity to speak today to this committee about concerns related to credit discrimination
in mortgage lending.
But I must tell you that we receive few complaints alleging illegal credit discrimination
against state member banks.
The emphasis on consumer education stems, at least in part, from our concern about the very small number of complaints that we and our sister agencies have received over the years alleging illegal credit discrimination
. in an effort to make our work in investigating and responding to such complaints more visible, we have written to several hundred fair housing and civil rights-oriented groups to reacquiaint them with our role in enforcing the legal protections afforded loan applicants, and to seek their cooperation in referring complainants to us.