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Many people don’t realize that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has a role in administering and enforcing Regulation B-ECOA. Although the CFPB has the authority over ECOA, the FTC retained the right for enforcement of any entities within the FTC jurisdiction.  These entities are generally financial services providers that are not banks, thrifts, or credit unions. The FTC also participates in the Interagency Task Force for Fair Lending, which is comprised of the CFPB, Department of Justice and banking regulators.

Each year the FTC is required to submit a letter to the CFPB that outlines their enforcement activity.  While the auto industry is still front and center for their enforcement actions, my attention was quickly drawn to their view of Big Data and FinTech solutions.

We all know that FinTech is accelerating at an unbelievable pace and with this comes issues.  If you are a FinTech company you may want to pay attention to these concerns.  Fair Lending and ECOA are not necessarily top of mind when it comes to developing FinTech solutions.  In fact, it is noted that sometimes it is not considered at all.  Yet, it is paramount to the success of the solution and dire if a lender picks up the solution without proper consideration of the Fair Lending and ECOA implications.

From the FTC Letter to the CFPB

“The blog also highlighted some compliance matters for businesses to keep in mind that the report addressed, such as:

  • if you use big data analytics in a way that could adversely affect people’s ability to get credit, be careful to avoid treating them differently on a prohibited basis, like race or national origin;
  • consider whether data sets are missing information from particular populations and if so, take appropriate steps to address the problem;
  • review data sets and algorithms to ensure that hidden biases do not have an unintended impact on certain populations;
  • consider the risk of using results – if big data finds a correlation – when policies could negatively affect certain populations; the need for human oversight of data and algorithms when big data tools are used to make important decisions, such as those involving credit; and
  • consider whether fairness and ethical considerations advise against the use of big data in certain circumstances and whether you can use big data in ways to advance opportunities for underrepresented populations.”

My background in technology and fair lending has made me the “go to” source for these types of reviews.  If you are a FinTech developer and need to evaluate your solution for ECOA concerns, or you are a lender considering a FinTech solution, contact me at tammybutler@fairlendingdiversity.com.

For your Reference, I am attaching the letter from the FTC to the CFPB here!

Tammy Butler, Master CMB

Author Tammy Butler, Master CMB

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