When creditors make credit decisions based on complex algorithms that prevent creditors from accurately identifying the specific reasons for denying credit or taking other adverse actions, do these creditors need to comply with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act’s requirement to provide a statement of specific reasons to applicants against whom adverse action is taken?
Yes. ECOA and Regulation B require creditors to provide statements of specific reasons to applicants against whom adverse action is taken. Some creditors may make credit decisions based on certain complex algorithms, sometimes referred to as uninterpretable or “black-box” models, that make it difficult—if not impossible—to accurately identify the specific reasons for denying credit or taking other adverse actions.1 The adverse action notice requirements of ECOA and Regulation B, however, apply equally to all credit decisions, regardless of the technology used to make them. Thus, ECOA and Regulation B do not permit creditors to use complex algorithms when doing so means they cannot provide the specific and accurate reasons for adverse actions.