From ECOA - OSC
3. When an inquiry or prequalification request becomes an application. A creditor is encouraged to provide consumers with information about loan terms. However, if in giving information to the consumer the creditor also evaluates information about the consumer, decides to decline the request, and communicates this to the consumer, the creditor has treated the inquiry or prequalification request as an application and must then comply with the notification requirements under § 202.9. Whether the inquiry or prequalification request becomes an application depends on how the creditor responds to the consumer, not on what the consumer says or asks.
Integrity. With it, nothing else matters. Without it, nothing else matters.