Who is protected?
For credit discrimination to be illegal in Fairfax County, it must be based on someone’s race; color; sex; age (over 40); national origin; religion; disability, or marital status.
It is important to know that it is also illegal to discriminate against someone because they have opposed illegal discrimination, filed a complaint, or assisted in an investigation. This is called retaliation, and the law protects those who oppose illegal behavior.
Examples of discriminatory actions:
A few examples of illegal discrimination with respect to credit are:
- a savings and loan company refuses to grant a loan or discourages a qualified applicant from apply for a loan because of the applicant’s race.
- a finance company imposes different terms or conditions, like a higher interest rate or higher fees, on a loan based on an applicant’s religion or national origin.
- an underwriter refuses to guarantee a loan because of an applicant’s sex.
- a credit union considers an applicant’s national origin. Please note that a creditor may consider immigration status and whether the applicant has the right to stay in the country long enough to repay the debt.
- a bank asks about an applicant’s marital status when the applicant is applying for a separate, unsecured account.