Rep. Harley Rouda introduces bill to improve lending fairness for LGBTQ-owned businesses

June 20, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – This afternoon Rep. Harley Rouda (CA-48) introduced H.R. 3374, the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act, which would help facilitate fair lending to LGBTQ-owned businesses and identify the needs for these companies to strengthen economic opportunity across the country. While the Equality Act would make it unlawful to discriminate against any applicant for credit based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, under the Equality Act and current law the federal government has no means to obtain the data necessary to provide for the proper enforcement of those provisions.

Said Rouda, “The House has passed the historic Equality Act, but the fight for full equality under the law for LGBTQ Americans is far from over.

This bill would provide the federal agencies tasked with enforcing fair lending practices for LGBTQ-owned businesses with the data they need to keep financial institutions honest. If we’re serious about our country’s commitment to civil rights and economic opportunity, and, for that matter, about growing our economy, LGBTQ-owned businesses must have equal access to capital.”

Said Justin Nelson, Co-Founder & President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, “The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community, is proud to support the introduction of the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act. America’s 1.4 million LGBT business owners add over $1.7 trillion to the US economy every year and create tens of thousands of new jobs in every industry sector.

“And yet, even the most basic information about the health and success of our LGBT entrepreneurs is not yet collected by the federal government. For them to succeed, LGBT business owners must have unfettered access to capital and credit, which the data gathered by this act will support. For our national economy to thrive, all business owners from every diverse community must be included, studied, and supported at every level of government as they are in private enterprise.”

Under current law, financial institutions are required to inquire whether a business applying for credit is a women-owned, minority-owned, or small business. Furthermore, any applicant for credit may refuse to provide such requested information. The bill would require that LGBTQ-owned businesses be added to this inquiry.

 

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