Americans for Financial Reform, California Reinvestment Coalition, National Fair Housing Alliance, National People’s Action, New Economy Project, and Woodstock Institute released this statement today in response to a proposal put out for comment by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:
The CFPB has proposed a number of positive steps to improve the range and detail of mortgage application and lending information available to financial regulators and the public.
This kind of data, made public every year since 1976 under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), and with additions mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, is crucial for regulators and the public to understand the mortgage market, who does and does not have access to credit, and on what terms.
We are very glad to see the CFPB moving forward on this important mandate.
As spelled out in Dodd-Frank, the proposed rule calls for more identifying data on lenders and brokers, more information on borrower characteristics such as age and credit score, and fuller reporting of points and fees, rate spreads, teaser rates, prepayment penalties, and other loan characteristics. In addition, the CFPB has used its Dodd-Frank authority to require more reporting of data on debt-to-income and loan-to-value ratios, affordable housing provisions, and the reasons for loan denials, among other questions, all essential to our understanding of the housing market.
There is still more that the Bureau could usefully do when it comes to data on, for example, rural lending, multi-family properties, and a more detailed racial and ethnic breakdown of borrowers and applicants. But with today’s announcement, the CFPB has taken a large and very important step forward. The proposed new data fields will provide a better picture of the mortgage market and improve the ability of regulators to enforce existing laws, including fair housing and fair lending laws; the ability of homeowners and community groups across the country to understand and monitor the performance of banks, lenders, brokers, and other industry players; and the ability of all of us to work towards a mortgage market that serves people fairly and helps families and communities build and preserve wealth.
We look forward to commenting on the details of the proposal, and to engaging on the important question of maximizing the data actually available to the public – a core purpose of HMDA – while protecting privacy.