Auto Lending Regulations

Risks are rising for non-compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act

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With interest rates and car values rising, the cost of ownership has become a significant burden for customers and a focal point for regulators. Delinquencies have seen a notable surge, particularly among low-income consumers with subprime credit.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") has leveraged the Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act (1974) aggressively to address the rising costs of vehicle ownership. The FTC has pursued over 50 cases fair lending cases against dealerships, and collaborated with state regulatory agencies for national sweeps resulting in 181 actions. Even with more aggressive regulation, more than 100,000 complaints have been filed against dealerships in the last three years.

Who Pays when Dealerships are Targeted for Unfair Lending?

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Dealership Owners & Employees

Undoubtedly, dealership owners face the most substantial financial risk from penalties or lawsuits. The FTC pins responsibility for maintaining fair lending practices on ownership, but have also demonstrated in recent lawsuits that they are not afraid to name vice presidents and managers of sales and finance for any direct role in the discriminatory practices.

Business Reputation

The cost of negative publicity can't be understated, as the FTC and other state bodies are eager to promote their efforts and awards to customers found to be victims of discriminatory lending practices. Headlines that accuse a dealership of discrimination against any customer class can be devastating to future business.

Adopting a Fair Lending Policy and Enhancing Enforcement with SelectFI

Adopting a fair lending policy

The NADA offers a model fair lending policy and documentation that most dealers will find easy to adopt. Dealers must choose a standard margin on financing and simply document how customer financing solutions were determined if they vary from the standard. Lender Selector® monitors this activity for you, and maintains those records for five years for compliance.

Lender Selector® effectively allows dealers to eliminate bias from the lending process

As customer financing estimates are generated in our software for first pencil, all decisions are based solely on their unique credit profile and vehicle collateral value. Lender Selector® makes only data-driven decisions from lender criteria, customer-specific credit metrics, and the vehicle being financed.