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Sept. 29, 2022, 11:18 a.m. EDT

Business groups sue CFPB over anti-discrimination banking guidelines

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By Paul Kiernan

WASHINGTON—Business groups sued the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over a recent move by the agency to combat potential discrimination in banking services, as legal battles between industry and  Biden administration regulators  are beginning to intensify.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Bankers Association and several other trade groups Wednesday asked a federal court in Texas to stop the CFPB from looking for discriminatory behavior when conducting routine examinations of financial firms.

They said the agency overstepped its authority when it indicated in March that discrimination in offering financial services could trigger liability under a law that prohibits “unfair, deceptive and abusive acts and practices” in consumer finance. The agency implemented the policy through changes to its examination manual rather than by proposing a rule and seeking public comment, a process plaintiffs say it should have followed.

CFPB spokeswoman Allison Preiss said the agency voluntarily publishes its examination manuals in an effort to be transparent.

“The CFPB’s exam manuals allow banks to ensure they are following the law, and help make certain that consumers are receiving the fair and equitable treatment they deserve,” Ms. Preiss said.

An expanded version of this story appears on WSJ.com.

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