NCUA Q&As – Is it permissible to ask an applicant about their number of dependents as part of the credit decision process on real estate related loans?

Compliance > Lending > Fair Lending
Q:   Is it permissible to ask an applicant about their number of dependents as part of the credit decision process on real estate related loans? 
 
A:  It is not permissible to ask a real estate loan applicant about the number of dependents, unless this information is needed to determine if the borrower qualifies for the first-time home-buyer program.  The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in a credit decision based on familial status.  24 CFR § 100.5.  Familial status is defined as one or more individuals (who have not attained the age of 18 years) being domiciled with (a) a parent or another person having legal custody of such individual or individuals; or (b) the designee of such parent or other person having such custody, with the written permission of such parent or other person.  24 CFR § 100.20.
 
 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
This Q&A was obtained from NCUA’s website, in a document entitled “NCUA Fair Lending Examination and Compliance Program for Federal Credit Unions,” which may be found here: 
 

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