(A) As used in this section:
(1) "Credit" means the right granted by a creditor to a person to defer payment of a debt, to incur debt and defer its payment, or to purchase property or services and defer payment for the property or services.
(2) "Creditor" means any person who regularly extends, renews, or continues credit, any person who regularly arranges for the extension, renewal, or continuation of credit, or any assignee of an original creditor who participates in the decision to extend, renew, or continue credit, whether or not any interest or finance charge is required.
(3) "Credit reporting agency" means any person who, for monetary fees or dues or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly assembles or evaluates credit information for the purpose of furnishing credit reports to creditors.
(4) "Age" means any age of eighteen years or older.
(B) It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice:
(1) For any creditor to do any of the following:
(a) Discriminate against any applicant for credit in the granting, withholding, extending, or renewing of credit, or in the fixing of the rates, terms, or conditions of any form of credit, on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, military status, marital status, national origin, disability, or ancestry, except that this division shall not apply with respect to age in any real estate transaction between a financial institution, a dealer in intangibles, or an insurance company as defined in section 5725.01 of the Revised Code and its customers;
(b) Use or make any inquiry as to race, color, religion, age, sex, military status, marital status, national origin, disability, or ancestry for the purpose of limiting or specifying those persons to whom credit will be granted, except that an inquiry of marital status does not constitute discrimination for the purposes of this section if the inquiry is made for the purpose of ascertaining the creditor's rights and remedies applicable to the particular extension of credit, and except that creditors are excepted from this division with respect to any inquiry, elicitation of information, record, or form of application required of a particular creditor by any instrumentality or agency of the United States, or required of a particular creditor by any agency or instrumentality to enforce the "Civil Rights Act of 1968," 82 Stat. 84, 85, 42 U.S.C.A. 3608(c) ;
(c) Refuse to consider the sources of income of an applicant for credit, or disregard or ignore the income of an applicant, in whole or in part, on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, military status, marital status, disability, national origin, or ancestry;
(d) Refuse to grant credit to an individual in any name that individual customarily uses, if it has been determined in the normal course of business that the creditor will grant credit to the individual;
(e) Impose any special requirements or conditions, including, but not limited to, a requirement for co-obligors or reapplication, upon any applicant or class of applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, military status, marital status, national origin, disability, or ancestry in circumstances where similar requirements or conditions are not imposed on other applicants similarly situated, unless the special requirements or conditions that are imposed with respect to age are the result of a real estate transaction exempted under division (B)(1)(a) of this section or are the result of programs that grant preferences to certain age groups administered by instrumentalities or agencies of the United States, a state, or a political subdivision of a state;
(f) Fail or refuse to provide an applicant for credit a written statement of the specific reasons for rejection of the application if requested in writing by the applicant within sixty days of the rejection. The creditor shall provide the written statement of the specific reason for rejection within thirty days after receipt of a request of that nature. For purposes of this section, a statement that the applicant was rejected solely on the basis of information received from a credit reporting agency or because the applicant failed to meet the standards required by the creditor's credit scoring system, uniformly applied, shall constitute a specific reason for rejection.
(g) Fail or refuse to print on or firmly attach to each application for credit, in a type size no smaller than that used throughout most of the application form, the following notice: "The Ohio laws against discrimination require that all creditors make credit equally available to all credit worthy customers, and that credit reporting agencies maintain separate credit histories on each individual upon request. The Ohio civil rights commission administers compliance with this law." This notice is not required to be included in applications that have a multi-state distribution if the notice is mailed to the applicant with the notice of acceptance or rejection of the application.
(h) Fail or refuse on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, military status, marital status, national origin, disability, or ancestry to maintain, upon the request of the individual, a separate account for each individual to whom credit is extended;
(i) Fail or refuse on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, military status, marital status, national origin, disability, or ancestry to maintain records on any account established after November 1, 1976, to furnish information on the accounts to credit reporting agencies in a manner that clearly designates the contractual liability for repayment as indicated on the application for the account, and, if more than one individual is contractually liable for repayment, to maintain records and furnish information in the name of each individual. This division does not apply to individuals who are contractually liable only if the primary party defaults on the account.
(2) For any credit reporting agency to do any of the following:
(a) Fail or refuse on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, military status, marital status, national origin, disability, or ancestry to maintain, upon the request of the individual, a separate file on each individual about whom information is assembled or evaluated;
(b) Fail or refuse on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, military status, marital status, national origin, disability, or ancestry to clearly note, maintain, and report any information furnished it under division (B)(1)(i) of this section.
(C) This section does not prohibit a creditor from requesting the signature of both spouses to create a valid lien, pass clear title, or waive inchoate rights to property.
(D) The rights granted by this section may be enforced by aggrieved individuals by filing a civil action in a court of common pleas within one hundred eighty days after the alleged unlawful discriminatory practice occurred. Upon application by the plaintiff and in circumstances that the court considers just, the court in which a civil action under this section is brought may appoint an attorney for the plaintiff and may authorize the commencement of a civil action upon proper showing without the payment of costs. If the court finds that an unlawful discriminatory practice prohibited by this section occurred or is about to occur, the court may grant relief that it considers appropriate, including a permanent or temporary injunction, temporary restraining order, or other order, and may award to the plaintiff compensatory and punitive damages of not less than one hundred dollars, together with attorney's fees and court costs.
(E) Nothing contained in this section shall bar a creditor from reviewing an application for credit on the basis of established criteria used in the normal course of business for the determination of the credit worthiness of the individual applicant for credit, including the credit history of the applicant.
Effective Date: 03-17-2000; 2007 HB372 03-24-2008