AOH :: BUSCRED.TXT|
Getting Business Credit
Facts for Business from the Federal Trade Commission
Getting Business Credit -- October 1993
As a business owner, or a person planning to start a business,
you may need to borrow money to get started or to help your
business develop or expand. If so, you should know about a law
that protects you against illegal discrimination in business
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) prohibits creditors from
discriminating on the basis of certain factors unrelated to
creditworthiness. This law also permits you to find out why your
application was denied and to sue creditors who discriminate
illegally. Here is a summary of what the law provides:
l Credit cannot be denied on the basis of sex, marital status,
race, age, national origin, or religion. This applies to you and
to the people you deal with. For example, if you request a loan
for a store in an ethnic or minority neighborhood, creditors
cannot deny your application based on your race or the race of
l If your application for business credit is rejected, you can
find out why by making a written request for the reasons within
30 days after you are denied credit. The creditor must give you
the specific reasons in writing within 30 days after you ask. If
you do not agree with the reasons, discuss your concerns with the
lender. Complaints frequently can be resolved at this level.
l If your business is small (less than $1 million in gross
revenues), the lender must keep records of your credit
application for a year after telling you of the credit decision.
If your business is larger, the lender must keep your records
for only 60 days after a credit denial, and if you do not request
reasons within 60 days, the creditor may destroy your records.
However, if you request that records be kept longer, or ask for a
written statement of the reasons for denial, the lender will
maintain records relating to your application for one year.
These records are important for any future legal action you may
consider against a lender.
If you believe your rights have been violated, you may wish to
seek legal advice. You have the right to sue a creditor who
violates the ECOA. If your complaint is about a governmental
lender, public utility company, small loan and finance company,
travel and expense credit card company, or other non-bank
creditor, you may also wish to contact the Federal Trade
Commission. Although the FTC cannot help you resolve your
individual dispute, it may be able to provide you with some
useful information and to take enforcement action against the
company if it is warranted. Write to: Correspondence Branch,
Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580.
To obtain a free copy of our Best Sellers _ a complete listing of
all consumer and business publications from the FTC _ contact:
Public Reference, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C.
20580; (202) 326-2222.
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