Debbie Wasserman Schultz
They were joined by 244 Republicans
This week, the House of Representatives voted to help banks and car dealerships discriminate against customers of color. And it wasn’t just Republicans — 88 Democrats, including Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) — voted in favor of the legislation.
Listen to the the HuffPost’s analysis of the auto market discrimination bill in the podcast embedded above. Most dealerships are authorized to sell cars and make loans to finance the purchase.
They send their customers’ financial information to a bank, which then sends the dealer an appropriate interest rate for a borrower with that particular credit profile. But banks also permit dealers to “mark up” the interest rate on the loan to a higher level, and allow the dealership to pocket some of the additional charge. That, of course, creates incentives for the dealer to charge people higher interest rates.
But lawsuits dating back to the 1990s have shown that people of color are more likely to have their interest rates marked up than white borrowers. Black, Latino and Asian-American borrowers also tend to see higher markups than white borrowers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued regulatory guidance in 2013 instructing companies on how to cope with this phenomenon.
Since the markup practice tends to result in overcharging borrowers of color, the CFPB recommended that banks and dealerships ditch the practice. If they didn’t, however, they needed to ensure that borrowers with similar credit profiles weren’t receiving different interest rates due to their race or national origin.
Since issuing the guidance, the CFPB has taken action against Honda and Ally Bank for overcharging borrowers of color, forcing them to return more than $100 million to their customers.
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