DOJ Settles with Maryland Car Dealership for Alleged Lending Discrimination

On July 2, 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it reached a settlement with a Maryland used car dealership. The consent order resolves a lawsuit filed by the DOJ in September 2019, which alleged that the dealership discriminated against African American consumers by offering different loan terms based on race, in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), 15 U.S.C. § 1691–1691f (“ECOA”), and its implementing regulations located at 12 C.F.R. Part 1002 (“Regulation B”).  Specifically, the DOJ alleged that when white testers and African American testers with similar credit characteristics sought auto financing from the dealership, the white testers were offered more favorable financing terms including lower down payments and the ability to fund down payments with more than one installment.

The consent order enjoins the dealership from engaging in any act, policy, or practice that discriminations on the basis of race and requires that the dealership take actions to remedy their alleged discrimination.  Additionally, the dealership must develop and implement a policy that standardizes the procedures for issuing credit terms to consumers and train its employees on the requirements of the ECOA.