Trade creditors extending credit to customers should be aware of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and its coinciding Regulation B. This federal regulatory scheme generally prohibits various forms of discrimination in connection with applications for and extensions of credit. The ECOA protects "applicants" for credit and therefore gives applicants standing to sue a creditor for actual and punitive damages and attorneys' fees if the creditor violates the ECOA’s anti-discrimination provisions.

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