Fair Lending and Joint Credit Report Fees

Compliance > Regulation B - ECOA
Q:  Is it a fair lending violation to use joint credit reports?

A:  No.  However, joint credit report fees are frequently lower than the fees that would be incurred if separate credit reports were obtained.  As a result, some agencies have criticized financial institutions for obtaining a joint credit report on married couples at the same address while obtaining separate credit reports on unmarried couples at the same address.  The agencies have taken the position that the practice results in lower fees being charged to married couples than to unmarried people, resulting in a fair lending violation.  Because different agencies appear to be using different rationale in their positions, we recommend that you ask your regulator what they would consider to be a compliant practice.

Regulation B can be found at http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=4da459947a3233c5090eb82f53b8c43f&mc=true&node=pt12.8.1002&rgn=div5

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