Consumer agency targets discrimination by lenders

President Barack Obama announces the nomination of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, right, to serve as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Monday, July 18, 2011, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - The Obama administration's consumer-finance watchdog says it is cracking down on lenders that discriminate against minorities and women.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said in a letter to lenders Wednesday that it will strictly enforce laws against discriminatory lending practices.

The agency said it will go after subtle forms of discrimination that result from lenders' policies. It said some policies appear to be fair but have discriminatory effects.

The CFPB also is offering consumers information about their rights and possible warning signs of discrimination by lenders.

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The CFPB said it will scrutinize mortgages, student loans, credit cards and auto loans. The agency was set up after the financial crisis to protect consumers from loans and other services that include high fees and other traps.