Economic Quarterly

Fall 1995

The Fair Lending Laws and Their Enforcement

John R. Walter

The author describes the fair lending laws and how they are enforced. He then compares such enforcement with the corresponding enforcement of antidiscrimination laws in employment and housing. The comparison reveals that the current practice of routine examination of every bank for signs of lending discrimination is strikingly different from antidiscrimination law enforcement in other fields. This finding leads one to ask whether routine examination is the most efficient means of preventing lending discrimination. Certain key issues bear on this question.

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