The CFPB - Where do they stand now and what does it mean to you?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) indirect crusade against dealers has been ongoing for several years now. For those who are not familiar with the auto dealership model, dealer participation is a method whereby a dealer arranges a wholesale rate of financing for a customer and then marks it up to a rate equal to that which the customer could find in the retail marketplace. As the NADA describes in their article, “The Fallacy of Flats” , the CFPB has essentially claimed that this provides the dealer with a level of pricing discretion that creates a “significant risk” that certain groups of consumers will pay a higher interest rate (due to more dealer participant) than other groups of similarly situated consumers in violation of the federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Although auto lending policies strictly prohibit gathering information on ethnicity, the CFPB has claimed evidence of this violation as a result of its efforts to categorize borrowers into ethnic groups based on the borrower’s name and the zip code in which they reside. The accuracy of the CFPB’s categorization has come under question on many fronts but it has not deterred them from their crusade.

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