Farmers, Food and Farm Groups Oppose Partisan Efforts to Weaken New Federal Rule Addressing Discrimination in Agricultural Lending

NATIONAL (May 15, 2024) Today, 130 organizations including the HEAL (Health, Environment, Agriculture, Labor) Food Alliance, the National Young Farmers Coalition, the Rural Coalition, the Center for Responsible Lending, and Self-Help, a national CDFI, sent a letter to Congress opposing multiple targeted efforts by Republican lawmakers to weaken, overturn, and provide exemptions to Rule 1071 of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which requires banks to collect demographic data on commercial lending. 

Rule 1071 — released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) last year — requires financial institutions, including lenders in the Farm Credit System, to track and report business and commercial loan applicant demographics, including race and gender. This rule was, and continues to be a major victory for family farmers, and for food and farm groups who were instrumental in advocating for more transparency in commercial agricultural lending. 

Last week the House Agriculture Committee Chair GT Thompson included a major exemption to the 1071 Rule in the House proposal for  the House Farm Bill. The exemption, also known as the Farm Credit Independent Authority Act, would exempt farm credit system lenders from reporting loan data to the CFPB, and instead require them to report loan data to the Farm Credit Administration (FCA). Our coalition of food and farm groups adamantly opposes this proposed exemption of farm credit system lenders from collecting and reporting demographic data in agricultural lending to the CFPB.

Specifically, the letter:

  • Strongly opposes HR 2423, the Farm Credit Independent Authority Act, which Chairman Thompson has included in the House Farm Bill draft proposal, which would exempt Farm Credit System lenders from CFPB Rule 1071.
  • Makes clear that “Rule 1071 rule is pro-farmer,” noting that young, beginning, and small farmers have consistently demanded more transparent and fair markets, and that having accurate and public data concerning the demographics primarily served by agricultural lenders will help farmers and consumers make better-informed financial decisions. 
  • States that the rule “is pro-market,” and that the data required by Section 1071 will help lenders identify unmet credit needs and expand to new markets, especially in underserved and rural communities. Rule 1071 does not contain any mechanism to penalize lenders based on the demographic data they report. 
  • Establishes that 1071 is important because without data transparency, the public does not know which farmers are being served and which may be left behind, despite Farm Credit’s unique responsibility to the public as a government-sponsored enterprise. 

The letter also expresses opposition to two bills in the House Financial Services Committee that would weaken the 1071 rule: HR 1806, the Small Lenders Exempt from New Data and Excessive Reporting (LENDER) Act and HR 1810, the Business Loan Privacy Act, both of which would weaken the 1071 rule. 

Below are statements from some of the groups supporting Farm Credit’s Administration’s inclusion under the 1071 rule: 

“The final CFPB rule is pro-farmer and pro-rural communities because it gives everyone, especially Black, Indigenous, and farmers of color who continue to face discrimination by lenders, a fair shot at credit that builds wealth,” said Maleeka Manurasada, National Organizer for HEAL Food Alliance. “At a time when small farmers across the country are struggling to sustain their farms, this kind of transparency and accountability in lending is exactly what we need.”

“The CFPB 1071 rule supports timely and thorough data collection across agricultural lending, which is critical to ensuring transparency and accountability, and to advancing effective credit policies. As the President stated in his 2021 Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity ‘…a first step to promoting equity in Government action is to gather the data necessary to inform that effort.’ This CFPB rule will help do exactly that,” said David Howard, Policy Development Director at Young Farmers.

“Small business owners, regardless of where they live or what they look like, deserve fair access to business capital,” said Mitria Wilson-Spotser, Vice President and Federal Policy Director at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). “By shining a light on financial institutions’ lending practices to small businesses, the Section 1071 rule will help regulators, lenders and small business owners alike have a better understanding of where capital access is needed and whether the needs of all our nation’s entrepreneurs are being met by the financial markets. Given that small businesses are the backbone of our nation’s economy, there is simply no excuse for blocking this long-overdue rule from going into effect. Section 1071 will create that transparency and, in the process, further stimulate access to small business capital.”

“The public has a right to know who is and who is not getting loans from Farm Credit, Ag’s government-sponsored enterprise. The CFPB 1071 rule rightfully requires Farm Credit to report that information and yet Farm Credit continues to fight reporting it. Farm Credit lenders already report their mortgage lending demographics as required by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and they should be required to do so for their agriculture lending as well,” said David Beck, Policy Director at Self-Help, a national CDFI headquartered in Durham, NC. 


The HEAL (Health, Environment, Agriculture, Labor) Food Alliance is a national multi-sector, multi-racial coalition. HEAL is led by its member-organizations, who represent about two million rural and urban farmers, ranchers, fishers, farm and food chain workers, Indigenous groups, scientists, public health advocates, policy experts, and community organizers united in their commitment to transformed food and farm systems.

The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) is a national grassroots advocacy organization working to shift power and change policy to equitably resource our new generation of working farmers. Young Farmers envisions a just future where farming is free of racial violence, accessible to communities, oriented towards environmental well-being, and concerned with health over profit. 

The Center for Responsible Lending is a non-partisan, nonprofit research and policy advocacy organization working to promote financial fairness and economic opportunity for all, end predatory lending, and close the racial wealth gap. 

Self-Help, founded in Durham in 1980, is a nonprofit community development lender, real estate developer, and credit union that serves communities traditionally underserved by conventional markets. Self-Help has provided over $11 billion in financing to more than 190,000 families, small businesses and nonprofits across the country.