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Equal Housing Lender Logo Requirements

Blog,
Jon Tavares – Senior Compliance Consultant

The Equal Housing Lender logo is almost ubiquitous in financial institution advertising that we almost forget it’s there, but many institutions are not very clear on the requirements for its use. Do you need it? Can you use just the words? What about placing the words next to the house? This week, we’re going to take a closer look at the requirements applicable to your institution.

Generally, any advertisement that promotes any loan for purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing or maintaining a dwelling, or any loan secured by a dwelling, should prominently, and in a manner appropriate for the media and format used, state that the lender makes such loans without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap or familiar status. But each regulator (most of them, at least) has their own version of the regulation. 

Use of the Equal Housing Lender logo (EHL) consisting of the house with an equal sign inside and the words “Equal Housing Lender” under the house will satisfy this requirement. In some advertisements, HUD’s Equal Housing Opportunity logo (EHO) may be used. The EHL (or EHO), including the equal sign and words, should be clearly legible when used.

While the EHL is not required on any advertisement that does not promote any loan for purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing or maintaining a dwelling or any loan secured by a dwelling, nothing prohibits its use on such advertisements. If you do use the EHL in these advertisements, we recommend that it be clearly legible, including the equal sign and words.

The specific requirements vary based on the institution’s charter type. Please note, the institution’s regulator is not determinative. For example, federal savings associations regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) are subject to its requirements, but national banks regulated by the OCC are not subject to the OCC’s requirements. For large financial institutions subject to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) supervision, look to your prudential regulator’s requirements. For example, a large non-member state bank subject to CFPB supervision would look to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) rules. 

If you are unsure of your institution’s charter type, the FDIC’s Bank Find Tool can help you determine the charter class of a bank or savings association. The National Credit Union Association’s (NCUA) Credit Union Locator can help you determine if a credit union is a state or federal credit union. Other types of institutions, such as farm credit institutions or mortgage companies, should be easily identifiable. The applicable regulations are listed below:

The regulations fall into three categories:

  1. For farm credit institutions and savings associations (state and federal): Advertisements related to dwellings must include the EHL. The use of the EHO is not permitted. Nor is any modification of the EHL, such as placing the words next to (rather than under) the house or using the words without the house. The regulation does not specifically address oral advertisements related to dwellings, but we recommend that you use the words “Equal Housing Lender” on any oral advertisement related to dwellings.
  2. For federal credit unions and non-member state banks: For written or visual advertisements related to dwellings, use of either the EHL or the EHO will satisfy this requirement but it is not required. For oral advertisements related to dwellings, use of either the words “Equal Housing Lender” or “Equal Opportunity Lender” will satisfy this requirement but is not required. For advertisements that contain both an oral and visual element, use of either the EHL, EHO, the words “Equal Housing Lender,” or the words “Equal Opportunity Lender” will satisfy this requirement. The requirements could, in theory, be satisfied in another manner. We recommend using the unmodified EHL logo, unmodified EHO logo, the words “Equal Housing Lender,” or the words “Equal Opportunity Lender,” as applicable, because the regulation does not explicitly state any other methods that will satisfy the requirements.
  3. For state member banks: For written or visual advertisements related to dwellings, using the EHL will satisfy the requirements but it is not expressly required. For oral advertisements related to dwellings, using the words “Equal Housing Lender” will satisfy this requirement but it is not required. For advertisements that contain both an oral and visual element, using either the EHL or the words “Equal Housing Lender” will satisfy this requirement. I recommend using the unmodified EHL and/or the words “Equal Housing Lender,” as applicable, because the Federal Reserve Board has not explicitly stated any other methods that will satisfy this requirement.

National Banks: No specific regulatory requirements exist for national banks to provide the EHL/EHO or state “Equal Housing Lender” or “Equal Opportunity Lender” in advertisements related to dwellings. The best practice is using the unmodified EHL logo, unmodified EHO logo, the words “Equal Housing Lender,” and/or the words “Equal Opportunity Lender” in advertisements related to dwellings.

All Other Lenders: Any lender not described above should refer to its state’s non-discriminatory advertising requirements. Where no state law/regulation applies, the best practice is to use the unmodified EHL logo, unmodified EHO logo, the words “Equal Housing Lender,” and/or the words “Equal Opportunity Lender.”

Blog,
Jon Tavares – Senior Compliance Consultant