New Legislation Would Close Loophole in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to Protect Customers from Discrimination when Accessing Financial Services

For Immediate Release:
October 21, 2020

Contact:
Katie McElrath
katie_mcelrath@smith.senate.gov
202-365-5865

WASHINGTON, D.C. [10/21/20]—Today U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.)—a member of the Senate Banking Committee—backed new legislation to outlaw discrimination by banks and other financial institutions.  

The Fair Access to Financial Services Act, introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) Wednesday, closes a loophole in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While the law outlawed discrimination in certain places of public accommodations, it does not cover banks and other financial institutions. This new legislation would ensure that all people receive equal treatment when trying to access services at financial institutions and hold the institutions accountable when they engage in discriminatory acts.

 “Too often, Black, Brown and Indigenous people in Minnesota and across the country experience discrimination or mistreatment when interacting with financial institutions,” said Senator Smith. “We need to root out systemic racism anywhere it occurs, and our legislation would be a clear and comprehensive statement that discrimination has no place in our financial system. It’s long past time for Congress to take serious action to support people of color's economic freedom and opportunity. This legislation will help move America forward on the path towards racial justice.” 

The Fair Access to Financial Services Act is a direct response to the numerous incidents of discrimination experienced by Black and brown people when trying to access the financial system. It has been endorsed by several civil rights organizations including  Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights Under Law, The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and Human Rights, The National Urban League, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), UnidosUS, Americans for Financial Reform, Public Citizen, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, National Association of Real Estate Brokers, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, National Action Network, and the Center for Responsible Lending. 

More information about the bill can be found here, and the bill text can be found here.

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