An Empirical Analysis of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act

This article will first examine the legislative history of the ECOA to discover (1) the impetus for its enactment; (2) the views of proponents and opponents of the legislation concerning the presence of credit discrimination, its proper cure, and the proposed provisions of the bills introduced to deal with the problem; and (3) the congressional intent as to the use of various credit-granting factors described by the Act. Regulation B will then be similarly examined to find out how the broad mandates of the ECOA have been made concrete for the use of creditors. Finally, the article will focus on a nationwide survey of consumers conducted by the Survey Research Center of the University of Michigan, concentrating on questions which probe credit refusals and the perceived reasons for such refusals. The article will fully describe the survey as well as the model and statistical techniques used to interpret the survey results. Those results will be utilized to suggest changes in the ECOA and Regulation B so that they better reflect the public policy dictated by Congress.