March 15, 2023 — Issue Brief

Steps the Federal Government Can Take in 2023 to Advance Racial Equity and Strengthen Consumer Protections

Emerging from the pandemic families of color are trying to regain their financial footing amid rising inflation and increasing costs for housing and other necessities. Families face new challenges as government programs and supports end and resources are curtailed. Many live in underserved communities ringed by high-cost, fringe creditors that market heavily to consumers in financial distress. Others are being targeted by new financial products that promise easy access to money but hide the fees or true cost of credit. These practices strip wealth from communities and further deplete the resources families need for economic stability.

The federal government plays a central role in building an inclusive and equitable economy. The Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing equity across the federal government is a start, but more must be done to aid families. This includes addressing the harm to justice-involved individuals and families from predatory practices in the criminal justice system, reforming the federal student loan system to address debt burdens, and ensuring that consumers who speak English with limited proficiency have full access to the financial system. We urge the administration and Congress to strengthen consumer financial protection and put in place other measures to aid families of color in accessing resources and economic opportunity.

  • Address the systemic barriers to affordable and accessible housing for renters and homeowners
  • Help Immigrants and other Limited English Proficient consumers access financial services and products in their preferred language
  • Redress practices that threaten the financial security of justice-involved people and their families
  • Provide a fresh start to student loan borrowers and reform the federal student loan system
  • Protect consumers from discrimination related to emerging financial products and technologies, including artificial intelligence
  • Encourage the collection, analysis, public dissemination and sharing of data across federal agencies and with state and local governments, especially to preserve housing and address the impact of climate change
  • Advance racial justice and strengthen existing fair lending protections; all consumers deserve nondiscriminatory access to credit and protection from abusive practices