Norton Speaks in Opposition to Bill that Would Weaken CFPB’s Ability to Combat Discriminatory Lending Practices
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today opposed H.R. 1737, the Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act, which would greatly diminish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) ability to address racially discriminatory lending practices in the auto industry. In 2013, the CFPB issued guidance aimed at curbing additional charges and fees that dealers add to loan costs known as “markups.” According to the CFPB, markups were used by some dealers in a racially discriminatory manner, causing people of color to be charged higher interest rates and fees than their white counterparts. Norton joined a number of major civil rights groups, as well as the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, in opposing the bill.
Norton’s full remarks are below.
Statement of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton on H.R. 1737, the Reforming CFPB Auto Financing Guidance Act of 2015
November 18, 2015
Ms. Norton. Mr. Speaker,
I join many of my Democratic colleagues, as well as the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Council of La Raza, the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, and many other civil rights groups, in opposing H.R. 1737, the Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act, a bill that would significantly diminish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) ability to protect consumers from racial discrimination in the auto lending market and give auto dealers a leg up in charging higher interest rates, and, as studies have shown, in discrimination. In 2013, the CFPB issued guidance that was aimed at combatting these biases in the auto lending industry—because of a practice used by car dealers known as “markups,” people of color were paying more for car loans than their white counterparts with similar or identical credit histories.
As the former chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, I am dismayed by the practice of “markups,” which allows discriminatory car dealers, who get a cut of the additional charges and fees that markups provide, to profit from their bad behavior. The CFPB has done important work toward eradicating discriminatory lending practices. I oppose this bill, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.