Earlier this week, the FTC provided the CFPB with its annual update of FTC enforcement activities related to compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The update was provided to assist the CFPB in preparing its annual report to Congress. The update makes clear that fair lending in the auto finance sector remains a high priority for the FTC.
Since 2011, the FTC has brought more than 25 cases regarding auto finance transactions. On December 29, 2015, the FTC announced that it was seeking public comment on a proposed survey to consumers regarding their experiences buying and financing automobiles at dealerships. The annual report explains that the survey is intended to provide useful insights about current consumer protection issues that exist and could be addressed through enforcement initiatives.
The annual update reinforces this focus, also pointing toward a conference co-hosted by the FTC and NAACP in 2015, which included a discussion of key consumer issues including auto finance. The update notes that “some conference participants provided information about auto loan fraud, and about the denial of mortgages to African-Americans at a higher rate than other groups.”