Credit and Bankruptcy Law


How do you prove credit discrimination?

One way is to prove that a creditor intentionally discriminated against an applicant based on race or gender. If a credit applicant can show that a creditor treated him worse than a similarly situated person not of his race or gender, that is called disparate treatment discrimination. For example, if a creditor gives credit to a white male with a credit score of 570 but denies credit to a Latino male with a credit score of 610, that raises an inference that the creditor has engaged in disparate treatment discrimination.

There is another method of proving discrimination called disparate impact discrimination. Disparate impact refers to a facially neutral policy that works an adverse impact upon a particular group of people. For example, let’s say that a creditor gives poorer credit terms across the board to all residents living within a certain zip code. Furthermore, that zip code is an area of town that is populated primarily by African-Americans. A group of African-Americans living within that zip code might have a good case of showing disparate impact discrimination. There have been many lawsuits against creditors based on poorer credit terms being extended to certain groups. However, it is difficult to prove such allegations and many of the lawsuits are dismissed without ever making it to trial.


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