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State control in anti-discrimination laws

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Bill Radke: Another battle banks have been fighting hits the Supreme Court today. The court will hear arguments over who has the right to enforce state anti-discrimination laws against national banks. Is it federal regulators, or is it the states? John Dimsdale tells us what's at stake.


John Dimsdale: When New York's Attorney General asked several national banks to explain why they were charging blacks and Hispanics higher interest rates, the Feds told him to back off. They said those banks shouldn't have to worry about 50 different regulators.

Gregory Taylor is associate general counsel with the American Bankers Association:

Gregory Taylor: A patchwork of state laws could limit things as product offerings, increase operating expense, you know, reduce efficiency in which banks do their business.

But states say federal regulators are not enforcing state laws against banks that sell fraudulent products or discriminate.

Eric Halperin with the Center for Responsible Lending filed a brief supporting the states' right to police their own laws. He believes the current bank crisis gives his argument teeth.

Eric Halperin: There's no better example of what happens when we have a lack of law enforcement than what we've experienced over the last couple years.

No matter how the court rules, congressional reformers want states to have more authority to enforce state consumer protection laws.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.
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