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Washington
GAO No CUs referred to DOJ for fair lending violations
WASHINGTON (8/14/09)--No lenders regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) have been referred to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for "being at potentially heightened risk" of violating fair lending regulations, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found. Lenders that are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) were also less likely to be referred, while the GAO reported that those that fall under the supervision of the Federal Reserve, the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are more likely to be referred to the DOJ. According to the report, the NCUA has made zero lender referrals since 2005. However, the OCC has made one referral, and the Fed, the OTS, and the FDIC have referred over 100 lenders. Overall, the GAO report, which was released by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) on Thursday, called on federal agencies to increase the amount of data that is collected from lenders to facilitate compliance with fair lending laws. According to the GAO, the data should include “key underwriting data for mortgage loans” like credit scores; loan-to-value and debt-to-income ratios; information on an applicant's race, ethnicity and gender; and “relevant underwriting data for non-mortgage loans.” While the GAO admitted that altering reporting requirements could increase costs for some lenders, it recommended that legislators find ways to offset those costs. One potential option would be limiting the new requirements to larger institutions that handle larger percentages of loans, the GAO said.


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