U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday new measures to fight discriminatory lending practices.
The Justice Department’s new Combating Redlining Initiative will redirect federal resources to investigating fair lending concerns, according to the agency. It will draw on existing department authorities under the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to prevent creditors from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, age and sex.
“Today, we are committing ourselves to addressing modern-day redlining by making far more robust use of our fair lending authorities,” Garland said.
Redlining is the denial of credit services or mortgage loans to communities and individuals based on race and national origin. Garland characterized the initiative as the furthest-reaching effort to combat redlining in the Justice Department’s history.
The department will work with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to target illegal practices and file and prosecute fair lending lawsuits, according to Garland. “The initiative represents the department’s most aggressive and coordinated effort to address redlining,” he said.
“Lending discrimination runs counter to fundamental promises of our economic system,” Garland said. “When people are denied credit simply because of their race or national origin, their ability to share in our nation’s prosperity is all but eliminated.”