In a bipartisan letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, senators asked the agency to provide data used as basis for warning auto lenders they could be committing fair-lending violations.

In the letter, the 22 senators asked the CFPB for the documentation on its statistical methodology for identifying disparate impact on an auto creditor's portfolio; the agency's coordination with the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Trade Commission in developing the controversial March bulletin; and why the CFPB decided to release a bulletin rather than issue a notice of proposed rulemaking.

"Although the CFPB has alleged that 'disparate impact' discrimination is present in the indirect auto financing market, the bureau has yet to explain its basis for this assertion," the senators said in the letter. "Nor has the bureau released the complete statistical methodology it employs for determining whether disparate impact is present in an auto lender's portfolio and the extent to which it has considered how the practical effect of its guidance will affect competition in the auto loan marketplace."

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