GAO reported on racial and income disparities with respect to access to financial services and achieving financial security in retirement.

Based on information collected over a decade, GAO affirmed that:

  • disparities in race and income exist with regard to access to financial services and credit availability, particularly for (i) women and minority farmers seeking credit, as compared to other agricultural businesses and (ii) minority-owned small businesses seeking credit;
  • existing racial and income disparities with regard to access to financial services correlate with increased challenges to retirement financial security for minority and lower-income households;
  • data limitations create challenges in fair lending oversight and enforcement, especially in non-mortgage credit markets in which lenders are banned from collecting data concerning personal characteristics, such as race and nationality;
  • regulations, including those that concern AML, can increase burdens on financial institutions that may negatively impact consumers' access to financial services; and
  • FinTech may provide solutions to support expanded access to credit, although the risks pertaining to lending discrimination in FinTech are not completely understood yet.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.