Cantwell, Cortez Masto, Senate Democrats Introduce Legislation to Help Prevent Housing Discrimination

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and 11 Senate Democratic colleagues introduced the Home Loan Quality Transparency Act to reinstate Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act reporting requirements repealed last year. This bill gives regulators and advocates the information they need to hold banks accountable for discriminatory or unfair lending practices.

“No one should have to worry about being denied a home loan due to their race, ethnicity, age, or zip code,” Senator Cantwell said. “Transparency is key to holding banks accountable if they are engaged in unfair practices.”

The legislation introduced today will strengthen protections against housing discrimination by reinstating certain requirements under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that any bank or credit union that makes more than 25 mortgage loans or 100 home equity lines of credit per year report detailed loan characteristics such as interest rates, points and fees, loan terms, as well as borrower characteristics like credit score and ethnicity. It also requires each loan receive a unique loan identifier to track the loan if it is sold to an investor. Fair housing experts warn that without this data, finding and prosecuting institutions for discriminatory lending practices is almost impossible.

Congress rolled back these Dodd-Frank reforms last year as part of a larger banking reform bill. Despite research showing that racial minorities, women and some rural residents still face loan discrimination, the banking reform bill raised the reporting requirement exemption for lenders from 25 to 500 mortgages and from 100 to 500 home equity loans made per year -- effectively exempting 85% of all banks and credit unions from reporting loan characteristics vital to ensuring lending fairness.

In addition to Cantwell and Cortez Masto, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) are cosponsors of the legislation.

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, has introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.