Equal Credit Opportunity Act (1984), codified at 15 U.S.C. §1691 et seq.
The Act, as implemented by Regulation B, prohibits creditors from making any oral or written statement, in advertising or other marketing techniques, to applicants or prospective applicants that would discourage on a prohibited basis a reasonable person from making or pursuing an application. However, a creditor may affirmatively solicit or encourage members of traditionally disadvantaged groups to apply for credit, especially groups that might not normally seek credit from that creditor.
Creditors must also observe the time frames outlined under Regulation B for notifying applicants of the outcome of their applications or requesting additional information for incomplete applications, whether those applications are received via social media or through other channels.
When denying credit, a creditor must provide an adverse action notice detailing the specific reasons for the decision or notifying the applicant of his or her right to request the specific reasons for the decision.
Creditors may not, with limited exceptions, request certain information, such as information about an applicant's race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. Since social media platforms may collect such information about participants in various ways, a creditor should ensure that it is not requesting, collecting, or otherwise using such information in violation of applicable fair lending laws. Particularly if the social media platform is maintained by a third party that may request or require users to provide personal information such as age and/or sex or use data mining technology to obtain such information from social media sites, the creditor should ensure that it does not itself improperly request, collect, or use such information or give the appearance of doing so.