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MoFo Reenforcement The Enforcement Blog

Supreme Court Affirmation of Hawkins Case Raises More Questions Than It Answers

Posted in Fair Lending

On March 22, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an order in Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore. An evenly divided Court affirmed without issuing an opinion, thereby resolving the Hawkins case but leaving open the proper interpretation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), failing to resolve a circuit split between the Sixth and Eighth Circuits, and raising questions as to how the Court will approach future cases involving statutory interpretation.

At issue in the case is whether the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“Board”) interpretation of the ECOA, stating that a guarantor is an “applicant,” is consistent with the ECOA.  The Eighth Circuit held that the Board’s definition was contrary to the ECOA statutory definition of “applicant.”

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