June 25, 2021

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Votes to Secure Equality in Access to Credit for LGBTQ+ Small Businesses

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) voted to pass the H.R. 1443, the LGBTQ+ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act, which improves equal access to credit for LGBTQ+-owned small businesses by taking steps to improve data collection by financial institutions.? This important bill will improve transparency around lending practices at financial institutions so that communities, government agencies and lenders can advance fair and equal credit access for the LGBTQ+ business community. 

“No one should face discrimination because of who they are or who they love,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.? “As we continue to celebrate Pride Month, I am proud to support this legislation, which will help ensure our LGBTQ+ business owners are treated fairly, help our LGBTQ+ community build wealth and advance our nation’s founding promise of equality for all. As a founding member and Vice Chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, I will continue working with my colleagues and the administration to center the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, especially in our efforts to build back bolder from this pandemic.” 

A study by Iowa State University found that LGBTQ+ individuals applying for mortgages are 73 percent more likely to be denied, while additional research has shown clear discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community when applying for other forms of credit.? With 1.4 million LGBTQ+-owned businesses around the nation, it is essential to have a better understanding of small business lending practices to root out any anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination. 

While financial institutions are required to collect data on business owners’ sex, race and ethnicity on loan applications, there is currently no legal requirement to collect data on self-identified sexual orientation or gender identity.? This bill will require financial institutions to begin collecting this data, as well as update the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to include LGBTQ+-owned businesses, so governments and institutions can address discrimination and improve access to credit for LGBTQ+ businesses. 

 Last week, House Republicans blocked passage of H.R. 1443 under suspension of the rules, despite strong bipartisan support in Committee and on the Floor.? After passing the House today in regular order, the bill heads to the Senate for consideration.