With respect to our recent forum piece (“Equal rights and protection for all under the law,” Aug. 16), we suggested two endeavors to combat racism in the future. The first was to acknowledge that systemic racism has taken place, is taking place. The second advocated for the creation of mechanisms to ensure all citizens have equal rights and protections without any exceptions.

A recent article, in Public Citizen News (“CFPB’s Commitment to Racial Equality Focuses on Action,” Vol. 43, July/Aug. 2023), addresses both these suggestions. On his first day in office, President Biden noted his commitment to combat racism “by signing an executive order directing federal agencies to create racial equity action plans to address the ways federal agencies can tackle systemic racism.” In complying with this directive, one federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has been found to have “made impressive headway in several key areas.”

The first action undertaken by CFPB was “to incorporate racial and economic equity principles into (their) … strategic planning and divisional review process.” The second action was “ensuring that financial (institutions) do not harm consumers and small businesses by denying fair, accessible and equitable banking options in their communities.” The focus by CFPB “has been ensuring redlining (systemically denying access to financial products based on race and geographic location) is not occurring.”

CFPB’s third action was “ensuring that Big Tech’s involvement in consumer financial markets does not impede fair competition,” e.g., digital redlining, where technology is utilized to “discriminate against historically marginalized communities.”

Lastly, CFPB would partner with other organizations/regulators/stakeholders “to ensure fairness and equity on property valuations.” The CFPB’s “work acknowledges the pervasiveness of racial inequity and is taking steps to address it from multiple lenses.” Our hope is that other federal and private entities will follow CFPB’s lead and implement their own substantive plans to eliminate systemic racism.

John Mishler and Sigrid R.E. Fischer-Mishler

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