New Bill Marks Major Step in LGBTQ Business Equality

The bill would go a long way to making sure financial institutions have fair lending practices with the LGBTQ business community.

Source : Flickr

March 3, 2021

Author : Patty Rodriguez

Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-NY) is re-introducing legislation that will mandate that financial institutions collect data on LGBTQ-owned businesses. 

Torres, a barrier-breaking, gay afro-latino member of the House of Representatives, is sponsoring a bill called the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act. It would work by amending the Equal Credit Opportunity Act which makes financial institutions collect data on women- and minority-owned small businesses.

According to Congress, “This bill requires financial institutions to report certain credit application data to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the purposes of enforcing fair lending laws.” 

Torres said that the bill will continue the work he started while on the New York City Council. “I partnered with the LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to persuade America's largest city to adopt a certification program for LGBTQ enterprises,” he told NBC News.

Contractor News recently reported this development.

As we reported last year, NGLCC hosts “regular virtual business meetings with LGBTQ business owners, allowing them to informally pitch their ideas to a panel of experts, giving LGBT small business owners a chance to receive free feedback and even potentially connect them with purchasers, suppliers, and procurement experts.”

Torres says the goal of the bill is transparency; it will incentivize financial institutions to “extend capital to LBTQ businesses,” he said.

“Without the kind of rigorous reporting required by my legislation, we have no enforceable means of holding the financial system accountable for serving the credit needs of LGBTQ enterprises,” the Congressman added.

“America’s 1.4 million LGBT business owners add over $1.7 trillion to the US economy every year and create tens of thousands of new jobs in every industry sector,” the NGLCC has previously said. “And yet, even the most basic information about the health and success of our LGBT entrepreneurs is not yet collected by the federal government.”

“For them to succeed, LGBT business owners must have unfettered access to capital and credit, which the data gathered by this act will support,” NGLCC co-founder and president Justin Nelson said. He added that Torres’ work on the New York City Council to create a procurement category for LGBTQ-owned businesses, combined with his bill in the House of Representatives “will only further help accelerate the work in progress for full federal inclusion of LGBT businesses in government procurement.”“

As NBC News reports, it isn’t yet clear when the House of consider Torres’ bill or when the Senate might vote on it.

Category : LGBTQ Owned Businesses Small Business Enterprises Contractor Trades Diversity Outreach Entrepreneurialism Federal Government

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