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Late last week, the CFPB finalized a major regulation implementing Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act. Under this provision, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), which is implemented through Regulation B, was amended to mandate that the CFPB develop a framework for financial institutions to collect data on loans to minority and women-owned businesses. Think of this as extending HMDA protections and oversight to business lending for institutions that make 100 or more small business loans a year.

But even as the regulation is being finalized, a legal challenge is brewing that could sharply limit the applicability of the ECOA. The issue once again comes down to how much deference courts should give to regulators in interpreting federal statutes.

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