Answer by Patricia Cashman: If the bank is asking a customer in connection with an insurance and/or investment product, then this would be not only acceptable but prudent. If this is in connection with any discussion regarding a loan product, then you have run smack into a serious fair lending issue!
Answer by Randy Carey: I agree with Patricia. If this question is in connection with a loan application, the more appropriate question without consideration of the age of the customer, would be: "Do you expect any change in your income during the term of this loan?" This will allow the applicant to indicate that they are planning to retire in the near future and you can then gather information concerning future income to see if it will continue to support the loan request. It will also cover other situations in which the applicant's income may change in the near future.
First published on BankersOnline.com 1/19/09