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CFPB Took Key Steps to Reach Equity Goals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has made substantial progress in its efforts to center racial equity in its consumer protection work, according to a new report from Public Citizen released today. In early 2022, at the direction of President Joe Biden, the CFPB laid out a plan with four key actions to center racial equity in their consumer protection work. A year later, the agency has done much to follow through, the report found.

“Consumer protection is essential to ensuring Black and Brown communities can thrive,” said Candace Milner, racial equity policy associate for Public Citizen. “While the work to advance racial equity at the CFPB is in no way complete, the steps we are seeing go beyond plans and focus on actions. Black, Indigenous, and other people of color face systemic barriers in every sector and at every stage of consumer interactions. The CFPB’s work acknowledges the pervasiveness of racial inequity and is taking steps to address it from multiple lenses.”

One of the CFPB’s important actions this year was finalizing a rule implementing data collection for small business lending as required by section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Specifically, the data will show which banks are lending to Black- and Brown-owned small businesses and identify gaps in access to loans and instances of discrimination that both the Bureau and community advocacy groups can act upon.

More generally, the CFPB has used its leadership in the financial services industry to encourage financial actors to strengthen their equity commitments. In addition, the agency continues to hold bad actors accountable for defrauding and discriminating against consumers of color by ensuring victims of these illegal acts are made whole. The CFPB also has partnered with other federal agencies to ensure that BIPOC consumers are being protected from discrimination and can challenge financials entities when discrimination does occur.

“Public Citizen looks forward to the work the Bureau will continue to do to center racial equity in consumer protection policy so that BIPOC communities have access to more resources that eliminate barriers to economic growth and stability,” Milner added.