Congress enacted the Equal Credit Opportunity Act in 1974 to insure fairness and impartiality in the extension of credit. Congress found that economic stability and competition among financial institutions would be enhanced if credit decisions were made without discrimination on the basis of sex or marital status. The Act and its implementing regulation, Regulation B, were designed "to promote the availability of credit for all creditworthy applicants without regard to... marital status" and to prohibit practices that discriminate on that basis. Later, the scope of the Act was extended to include other classes of discrimination such as race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, income-if derived from public assistance, or the good faith exercise of any right under the Act. Although the scope of the Act extends beyond discrimination on the basis of marital status, this article is limited in scope to the impact of the Act and Regulation B on guaranties' by spouses with special emphasis on spousal guaranties on negotiable instruments.

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