Today, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that according to the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County and President Biden’s January 20, 2021 Executive Order implementing Bostock, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
LGBTQ+ older people – particularly transgender and BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and people of color) LGBTQ+ elders – face disproportionately higher poverty rates than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts, making access to credit all the more critical. In a letter to SAGE in 2016, the CFPB confirmed that it did view credit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as forms of discrimination prohibited under the ECOA. This distinction affirmed that LGBTQ+ people are entitled to fair, equitable, and nondiscriminatory access to credit under the law as they age. For example, the ECOA legally prohibits a loan officer at a bank or an agent taking a credit card application over the phone from denying LGBTQ+ people access to credit simply based on who they were, as opposed to their financial qualifications.
“Today’s announcement by the CFPB lifts a burden for LGBTQ+ older people who, for much of their lives, have felt compelled to hide their sexual orientation and/or gender identity when seeking access to credit,” said SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “SAGE applauds the announcement by Acting Director Uejio and the Biden administration, confirming the vital legal protections LGBTQ+ elders – and all LGBTQ+ people – deserve regarding something as essential as access to credit.”
The CFPB’s decision is a powerful reminder that access to credit is just one of many non-discrimination protections that should be secured under federal law. SAGE calls on the Senate to swiftly pass the Equality Act so that all people are protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in every facet of public life.