Sovern Authors Daily News Op-Ed on Discrimination in Consumer Transactions

Sovern Authors Daily News Op-Ed on Discrimination in Consumer Transactions

Professor Jeff Sovern has written an op-ed in the New York Daily News, “Banks fight for the right to discriminate” (Oct. 26th). Here is an excerpt:

You might not expect that in the year 2022, businesses would go to court asserting a right to discriminate. Yet that is essentially what the Chamber of Commerce and various banking groups did last month when they sued the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Chamber argues that the CFPB is breaking the law by checking if financial institutions discriminate when they decide whether to allow them to open checking accounts. Under the Chamber’s approach, it appears that the Bureau could not do anything if, for example, a bank told customers that it would not open checking accounts for people of their race.

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Members of the Chamber of Commerce should call upon the group to do the right thing. And the Chamber should think harder about whether it wants to stand up to prejudice — or brazenly defend it.

Professor Sovern was also quoted in an October 5th article in Congressional Quarterly’s RollCall about the case as follows:

“The Dodd-Frank Act gave the Bureau the power to stop financial institutions from engaging in unfair practices,” he wrote in an email. Sovern said discriminatory conduct is likely to cause substantial injury to consumers, who can’t protect themselves against discrimination. “Put simply, discrimination is unfair within the meaning of the statute,” he said.

The article, headlined “Suit against CFPB’s ‘unfair practices’ has merit, legal experts say,” is available on Westlaw.

In addition, Sinclair Broadcasting quoted Professor Sovern in a story captioned “Uber says privacy concerns addressed in new video-recording program.” According to the article:

Jeff Sovern, a law professor at St. John’s University in New York City, said some states bar recordings of conversations unless all parties agree, but New York, one of the places where Uber is testing the program, is not among them.