NAFCU joins with other trades to air concern over use of ‘disparate impact’

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May 30, 2014 – NAFCU on Thursday signed on with six other financial industry trades to support an amendment in the House to limit Justice Department litigation relying on the “disparate impact” theory of discrimination.

The amendment is proposed by Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., for inclusion in H.R. 4660, a bill under House consideration that would make fiscal 2015 appropriations for the Commerce Department, Justice Department, Office of Science and Technology Policy and related agencies.

In the letter, the trades said they and their members “view illegal discrimination in housing and lending as morally, ethically, and legally abhorrent and do not tolerate it in any size, shape or form. They are committed to providing financial services to American consumers in full compliance with all lending laws.” However, they said they have concerns about recent Justice Department actions that relied solely on the use of “disparate impact” theory of discrimination.

Garrett’s amendment would bar the Justice Department’s use of appropriated funds to pay for litigation seeking to prove illegal discrimination when an activity, despite any and all efforts to prevent discrimination, has a disparate impact on a federally protected class. Under the amendment, the Justice Department could still use funds to enforce fair lending laws, something NAFCU steadfastly supports.

The letter was signed by NAFCU, CUNA, the American Bankers Association, American Financial Services Association, Consumer Mortgage Coalition, Independent Community Bankers of America and Mortgage Bankers Association.

The House was expected to continue its debate of the 2015 appropriations package into late evening.