CUNA Regulatory Comment Call


June 25, 1999

Fed Proposal to Allow Lenders to Collect More Data on Borrowers

On June 23, 1999, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) unanimously agreed to issue a proposed rule containing changes to Regulation B, which implements the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). The proposal would permit lenders to voluntarily collect more data on borrowers, including information on their race, religion, gender, and national origin. Comments on the proposal are due within three months after the rule is published in the Federal Register, which should be in the next few days. Please submit your comments to CUNA by September 15, 1999, by fax at (202) 371-8240 or e-mail to CUNA's Assistant General Counsel Jeffrey Bloch at jbloch@cuna.com. You may also contact us if you would like a copy of this proposal, which is not yet available on the Internet.

BRIEF BACKGROUND

Currently, the ECOA prohibits lenders from making credit decisions on non-mortgage loans based on certain prohibited factors, such as the race, religion, gender, and national origin of the borrower. In March 1998, the Fed issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking, which solicited input on the issue of whether lenders should be permitted to collect such information. The Fed received 330 comment letters and is now issuing a proposed rule that would permit such collections.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSAL

Although the proposal would permit the voluntary collection of information regarding race, religion, gender, and national origin, borrowers would not be required to provide such information if they choose not to do so. The proposal would also require lenders to retain records on prescreened credit solicitations. These records would include the list of criteria used to select potential recipients, the solicitation used, the correspondence related to the solicitation, and the marketing plan to which the solicitation relates. Lenders would also be required to retain business credit records for 25 months, rather than the current 12 months.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER REGARDING THE FED'S REGULATION B PROPOSAL

Leagues and credit unions should feel free to fax their responses to CUNA at 202-371-8240; e-mail them to Jeffrey Bloch at or mail them to CUNA's Regulatory Advocacy Department, Suite 300, 805 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005. Thank you!!

Eric Richard • General Counsel • (202) 508-6742 • erichard@cuna.com
Mary Mitchell Dunn • SVP & Associate General Counsel • (202) 508-6736 • mdunn@cuna.com
Jeffrey Bloch • Assistant General Counsel • (202) 508-6732 • jbloch@cuna.com
Catherine Orr • Senior Regulatory Counsel • (202) 508-6743 • corr@cuna.com