new legislation

Were You Denied a Credit Card Because Your FICO Score Sucks, Or Because You’re Gay?


In today’s lending climate, it can be impossible for even those with excellent credit histories to secure a home mortgage or even get an unrestricted credit card — or so the news reports have us believe. But are we facing an additional hurdle when it comes to securing credit: discrimination because we’re queer?

Supposedly it’s a big enough problem that New York’s Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, and Rep. Barney Frank, are introducing in Congress the Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to Equal Credit Opportunity Act’s list of protected classes.

It’s hard to imagine most large banks discriminating against LGBTs on their credit applications, particularly because so much lending is now done online and over the phone, with no in-person meetings. (Bad FICO score? You won’t even get a call back.) But certainly, local and regional banks and lenders still capture a good deal of the lending business, and it would be lovely to know you can walk into your neighborhood branch, sit down with the bank manager to discuss your home loan, and not fear she is going to stamp “DENIED” on your app simply because you come across gay.

Of course, if you’re looking to go holiday shopping rather than refinance your home mortgage, we imagine neither HRC’s credit card, nor the Rainbow Endowment’s Rainbow Card (both issued by Bank of America) ask you to check a box on their application denoting your sexual orientation.

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  • Nick

    I think I’ll take that card for a spin at Amazon. Thanks!

  • L.Single

    Super. Apparently Barney has decided that rather than one bill that addresses many categories of discriminition, like the Americans with Disabilities Act that covered employment, public accomodations, public employment and public programs all at once, we’re going to take sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination one nibble at a time.

    Private employment this year or next, then credit. Housing and public accomodation will probably be in 5 years, followed by public employment and public programs many years after that. By the time we have them all done it should be 2030. That’s real nice.

  • Cam

    So now Barney can pass a useless bill to deflect criticism, that he wouldn’t co-sponsor the bill to end DADT…even though nearly 100 of his HETRO fellow congresspeople DID sign on as co-sponsors.

  • Matt

    As a gay who works in lending, we don’t care what you look like or who you are fucking. All we care about is making as much money off of you as we can. If we don’t lend to you, we don’t make any money.

  • Katarina Corleone

    Why on earth would a financial institution even THINK of denying credit to a person or couple because their gay? That is insane! I’m no expert, but I would think the banks should be falling over each other to lend to gay couples… Two-Income-No-Kids… hello?… and in half the cases Two-[Male]-Incomes-No-Kids.

    This is the first that I have ever heard of this happening. Thank gawd for Barney Frank.

  • Josh NYC

    Doesn’t HRC have better things to be doing?

    Too much merchandise and parties and lobbyists and fund raising … and no strategy for equality.

  • terrwill

    This is the one area where methinks there is just a little
    bit ‘o paranioa…….The Gays have the largest disposable
    incomes and tend to be amongst the wealthiest people in the
    US. Gay money is the ONLY thing most Americans don’t have a
    problem accepting, marriage and full equal rights: not so much

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