CFPB Issues Statement on Serving Consumers with Limited English Proficiency

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today issued a statement encouraging financial institutions to expand access to financial products and services for consumers with limited English proficiency. The statement provides guidance on how banks can provide access to credit in languages other than English “in a manner that is beneficial to consumers, while taking steps to ensure financial institutions’ actions are compliant with [the Equal Credit Opportunity Act], prohibitions about [unfair or deceptive acts and practices]and other applicable laws.”

The statement followed a request for information from the bureau on ECOA. In a blog post, the CFPB acknowledged that the feedback received from the industry “indicated that financial institutions recognize the importance of providing financial products and services to LEP consumers but are cautious of running afoul of statutes and regulations.”

The statement outlined several guiding principles for serving LEP consumers. The principles address pilot programs or other phased approaches or rolling out LEP-consumer-focused products and services; the development of compliance approaches related to these products and services; mitigating compliance risks by providing LEP consumers with clear and timely disclosures; and special purpose credit programs. The CFPB also offered guidelines for developing compliance solutions when serving LEP consumers.