On November 8, 2023, the CFPB and a national bank entered into a consent order to resolve allegations that the bank engaged in intentional discrimination against Armenian Americans who had applied for credit cards with said bank.
Specifically, the CFPB alleges that between 2016 and 2021, the bank singled out credit card applicants suspected of being of Armenian descent based on their surnames, applying more stringent criteria to such applications, “including denying them and requiring additional information or placing a block on the account.”
The CFPB further asserts that bank supervisors instructed employees not to discuss the practice in writing or on recorded phone lines and that employees were taught to lie about the reason for the adverse actions against the applicants, typically citing suspected credit abuse. According to the CFPB, these practices violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)and its implementing regulation, Regulation B, and the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA).
Pursuant to the consent order, the bank has agreed to pay $1.4 million to impacted consumers as well as a $25.4 million penalty.