DFS: Apple Card, Goldman Sachs committed no fair lending violations

The New York State Department of Financial Services today issued a report summarizing the department’s findings after investigating consumer complaints about the Apple Card. The investigation, which included a review of several thousand pages of records and written responses from Goldman Sachs Bank (the “Bank”) and Apple, interviews of witnesses and Apple Card applicants, and analysis of underwriting data for approximately 400,000 New York State applicants for the Apple Card, did not produce evidence of unlawful discrimination against applicants under fair lending law.

Apple Card
Apple Card

“While we found no fair lending violations, our inquiry stands as a reminder of disparities in access to credit that continue nearly 50 years after the passage of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA),” said Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell in a statement. “The report also notes that the use of credit scoring in its current form and laws and regulations barring discrimination in lending are in need of strengthening and modernization to improve access to credit. Consumer frustration with the Apple Card policy of not permitting an account holder to add an authorized user drew attention to the following: a person who relies on a spouse’s access to credit, and only accesses those accounts as an authorized user, may incorrectly believe they have the same credit profile as the spouse. This is one part of a broader discussion we must have about equal credit access.”

MacDailyNews Take: The uninformed wrongly assumed something that wasn’t at all true, but we should have “a broader discussion” about it after wasting nearly a year and a half and who knows how much taxpayer money to find out what any Finance 101 student already knows?

That’s just typical mealymouthed bureaucratic bullshit and another nice concise example of about fifteen trillion examples of what’s wrong with America today.

“A broader discussion.” Sheesh.

Here’s a better idea. The way we did it for the first 220 or so years:

STFU if you don’t know WTF you’re talking about. End of broader discussion.

The report describes how consumers can responsibly build credit.

MacDailyNews Take: Also available to anyone with internet access or a library card for free.

In the course of the investigation, consumers expressed the belief that they should have received the same Apple Card offers as their spouses because they shared bank accounts and other assets. For example, consumers voiced the belief that if they shared credit cards with spouses, even if only as authorized users, they were entitled to the same credit terms as spouses. In reality, however, underwriters are not required to treat authorized users the same as account holders, and may consider many other factors.

MacDailyNews Take: Again: Imagined slights vs. actual reality.

In terms of gender, the Department found, based on its data analysis, that Apple Card applications from women and men with similar credit characteristics generally had similar outcomes. For all consumers who reported concerns about their Apple Card credit application outcomes to the Department, evidence showed that those decisions were explainable, lawful, and consistent with the Bank’s credit policy.

MacDailyNews Take: “Explainable, lawful, and consistent.”

The Department concluded, deficiencies in customer service and a perceived lack of transparency undermined consumer trust in fair credit decisions. The report notes that Goldman Sachs and Apple have since taken steps to improve transparency, implemented a program to assist denied applicants in improving their credit with the goal of obtaining Apple Card approval, and modified a policy that previously required approved applicants to wait six months before appealing credit terms.

MacDailyNews Take: Translation: Abject morons making incorrect assumptions forced Apple and Goldman Sachs to increase their idiot-proofing for something that already seemed idiot proof. Never underestimate the idiocy of idiots, it seems.

The report is available on the Department’s website here.

MacDailyNews Take: So, how much did this total waste of time – which was obvious to anyone even remotely sane at the outset of this faux outrage – cost taxpayers?

An aside: Shouldn’t all government reports have a price tag attached so that taxpayers can see how much they’ve paid for them, especially for such groundbreaking work such as this?

Here’s our report, which, since we’re not government workers, was free and completed expeditiously:

This is a case of Apple Card accounts being individual and independently evaluated. It has nothing whatsoever to do with gender or martial status or whatever nefarious claptrap the Twitterati concoct in order to work themselves up into a spittle-spewing lather, as they are so wont to do while cloistered inside their twisted outrage machine.MacDailyNews, November 12, 2019

In a nutshell, this whole charade was based on misperceptions made by the uninformed, ring-led by David Heinemeier Hansson and including, unfortunately, the seemingly easily-swayed and similarly-financially-clueless Steve Wozniak:

“I think X is being Y. I have no proof, but I’m going to tweet about it anyway, triggering a year-plus taxpayer money-squandering, waste of time ‘investigation.’ I’ll selfishly get what I want, to impugn others’ reputations, at no cost to me. Of course, whatever it costs others is of no concern to me whatsoever.”

Shouldn’t David Heinemeier Hansson reimburse taxpayers for the costs incurred by his stupidly-induced snipe hunt?

See also:
Elizabeth Warren slams Goldman Sachs’ response to Apple Card gender bias accusations — November 14, 2019
• Elizabeth Warren ramps up attacks on Apple Card over gender bias claims – November 26, 2019
Goldman Sachs CEO defends Apple Card approval process, says ‘there’s no gender bias’ – November 21, 2019


  1. Not long ago I sat down a group of younger people between the age of 16-24 and asked them a basic question, “How do you establish credit”. Not one of them gave me a correct answer. The common response from the group was, “they believed they were born with credit”. Even those who didn’t say that thought you apply for a credit card with a low borrowing dollar amount of like $500-$1000 and pay it off each month.
    I blame their parents mostly because their parents are probably just as ignorant and don’t bother to educate their children about money matters. How did I come to this conclusion? Because these young people said to me, “why didn’t my parents tell me this”. Ugh! Could we please bring some real world education back to the public school systems for gawd sakes. We obviously can’t rely on some parents to educate their own children.

  2. FYI, for the David Heinemeier Hanssons of the world:

    How to Establish First-Time Credit:

    Remember to use credit responsibly, spend within your means, and pay bills on time in order to build a positive credit history.

    Establish banking relationships – open checking and savings accounts. This will not directly establish your credit history, but lenders typically ask for bank account numbers on credit applications. If the account remains in good standing, this can help the lender know that you can responsibly manage money.

    Be consistent. When reviewing a credit or loan application, lenders look for a stable income source, work history, and place of residence.

    Apply for a department store card or a gas card. These may be easier to obtain than regular credit cards and typically have lower credit limits. Be careful, however, as some of these cards come with high interest rates. It might be a good strategy to charge only small items and pay your card balance off in full each month.

    Apply for a secured credit card. To help build your credit history, a secured card works like any other credit card, but requires a collateral account. Some companies will evaluate your history and may consider graduating you to an unsecured card if you meet their specific criteria.

    Consider a co-signer or co-applicant. Applying with a cosigner or co-applicant may help you qualify or acquire better credit terms, but remember that your cosigner or co-applicant also takes responsibility for payment. That means the credit history will be reflected on both of your credit reports.

      1. The issue was never whether those who have lower credit scores receive lower credit limits. It was always over whether married women who have exactly the same financial resources as their husbands nevertheless get lower credit scores.

  3. The underlying problem is that banks are headquartered, by and large, in states that follow the common-law rules related to marital property and not in states with community property. In a community-property state, it does not make sense to evaluate a husband and wife as if they had separate income and financial resources. If I earn $100,000 and put it in the bank, my wife and I own it jointly. She can write a $100,000 check on the account just as I can. Same applies if she makes $50,000. I can spend that money as legally as she can. We have exactly the same income, $150,000 owned jointly, and the credit agencies should treat the situation accordingly. Our community assets that are managed jointly are as liable for her credit card debt as for mine. That would not change even if we were divorced, as to existing debt.

    Obviously, the rules differ from state to state, but the credit agencies treat everyone as if they lived in a state where wives have no right to their husband’s income and husbands are not liable for their wives’ debts. Under that regime, a stay-at-home parent will never obtain independent credit comparable to their spouse.

  4. Sorry, TxUser, literally, nothing you wrote is true. For starters, most large banks are nationally chartered- not state chartered. Smaller banks that are state chartered often operate within that state or region. Living in a community property state has nothing to do with your credit report.

    1. I explicitly said that living in a community property state has nothing to do with your credit report. My point (and the point of the protesters) was that it SHOULD have something to do with your credit report, insofar as the report is supposed to reflect a person’s income and ability to repay a debt.

      Instead, credit scores are awarded as if everyone lived in a jurisdiction where the husband is entitled to control all the marital property and the wife has only a vague entitlement to “spousal support,” so she cannot obligate the marital estate by incurring debt without her husband’s consent. That isn’t true even in most common-law property states anymore, but the credit score algorithms have not been adjusted to reflect reality. Apart from this, the world has moved past the Anglo-American legal maxim, “Husband and wife constitute one person in the sight of the law, and that person is the husband.”

  5. Again, wrong. By law, lenders have to consider the bread winning spouses income even where the other spouse is applying for credit as an individual. I would suggest you read up on the concept of an “authorized user”. It’s where someone with a credit card allows another person to use it, but the user is not responsible for the debt. The user could be a spouse, a child, your elderly parents….the credit report would show that authorized user has the ability to use someone else’s credit, but has none of their own.

    1. Perhaps you missed the part about each Apple Card being issued only to a single individual user. You cannot get a second card for another person. So, your information about authorized users is true, but irrelevant. So is the information about “considering” the other spouse’s income.

      Again, my point is that in a community property state (I hate to shout, but you seem not to be hearing) THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A “BREAD WINNING SPOUSE” AND THE OTHER PARTNER TO THE MARRIAGE. Every dollar, every dime, and every penny that one spouse earns belongs equally to the other. No matter whose name is on the paycheck, it is the community’s income. No matter whose name is on the credit card, it is the community’s debt. In effect, both the husband and wife are “authorized users” of the community’s credit. That is true no matter who filled out the application. The payment history on that card is attributable entirely to the community, not to either spouse separately. Each spouse is as able to pay, and as responsible for making payments, as the other.

      Unless one or the other has inherited separate wealth, their assets, earning power, and liabilities are identical during the existence of the marriage. They have an equal ability to pay what they owe and an identical payment history since the date of the marriage, so their credit-worthiness should be identical. If their credit score is not identical–and it almost never is–that is a problem. The credit agencies are treating the two halves of the community as if they were separate legal entities, and they are not. This is not exactly sexism, since it affects stay-at-home fathers exactly as it does stay-at-home mothers, but it is still true that most women have lower salaries than their male counterparts. As a result, they are more likely to be impacted by policies that ignore their community ownership of an undivided half of the marital income and give them credit only for the paychecks and credit payments that bear their individual name.

      1. Maybe it depends on their credit score as anyone with any sense knows.
        Even if they have been married 5 years your report goes back further.
        But no, to you it always has to be about something unjust.

        If you want to find the biggest thief in credit, look no further than credit agencies and their ability to screw around with scores JUST to put you in a category with a higher interest rate.
        Of course they do this at the behest of credit lenders so THEY can justify higher rates.

        My God, I wonder how many people driving by stop just to watch an ass beat a dead horse…

      2. Wait- I can’t hear you! Oh wait, yes, I can. Again, lenders do treat the income as one whether you live in a community property state or not- so you can build credit on that income jointly (i.e., opening joint accounts) or individually. Since many people don’t get married at 18 (when they are first eligible for credit), as you can imagine, they may come into a marriage with very different credit histories. While a creditor in a CPS can seek repayment if one spouse fails to pay their accounts, they can’t in a non CPS. Separately, if one spouse has a spotty history of making payments on time, knowing that you can ultimately sue the other spouse doesn’t provide a lot of comfort- you want to see that this person has a demonstrated history of paying their bills- that is what a credit report shows.
        P.S. Lenders aren’t allowed to inquire about or consider marital status bc of historical discrimination against single women.

      3. Hey TX USER!! There, did I get your attention, mister “know it all.” ??

        “BETTER CALL SAUL!!!” Oh, never mind; I see already from your sh*t storm of thousands of leftist-skewed postings that you ARE, actually, the real-life Jimmy McGill.

        You surely must have loads of free time to drench us all daily with your multiple “Hectoring” screeds (did you see what I did there?—Breaking Bad characters abound in my comments today, ha, ha).

        1. I have loads of free time because my state and national governments screwed up their response to the novel coronavirus, making it unsafe for me to leave home. I only do so when forced to associate with the selfish bastards who won’t take elementary public health precautions. I am “leftist” in the same sense as John McCain, Jeff Flake, and other traditional conservatives in the mold of Barry Goldwater.

          1. You are no more Barry Goldwater than Barry White.
            Goldwater, Buckley, Reagan, Limbaugh and Trump all had similar core values.
            Very different styles and abilities but all were not that far from the others in terms of beliefs. DON’T DOUBT ME!

            You may claim to be a stick-in-the-ass (RINO) Republican like McCain, Flake, and many others, but even when such “moderates” as Collins, Murkowski, and Nixon are added to the mix with ALL of their outlandish claims combined they still don’t come near the the Neo-Marxist BS you have spewed.

            I still wonder if you are stupid enough to believe what you type or if you think everyone else is….or both.

            Watch and learn.

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