Cynthia LawsonThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued warning letters to 44 mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers. The Bureau has information that appears to show they may be required to collect, record, and report data about their housing-related lending activity, and that they may be in violation of those requirements.

“Financial institutions that fail to report mortgage information as required make it harder to identify and address discriminatory lending,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “No mortgage lender that is required to report their loan data can avoid this responsibility.”

Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Requires Data Collection

The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, which was originally enacted in 1975, requires many financial institutions to collect data about their housing-related lending activity, including home purchase loans, home improvement loans, and refinancing’s that they originate or purchase, or for which they receive applications. Annually, these financial institutions must report to the appropriate federal agencies and make the data available to the public. The public and regulators can use the information to monitor whether financial institutions are serving the housing needs of their communities, to assist in distributing public-sector investment so as to attract private investment to areas where it is needed, and to identify possible discriminatory lending patterns.

Discriminatory Lending

Data transparency helps to ensure that financial institutions are not engaging in discriminatory lending or failing to meet the credit needs of the entire community, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Financial institutions that avoid their responsibility to collect and report mortgage loan data hinder regulatory efforts to enforce fair lending laws.

The CFPB identified the 44 companies by reviewing available bank and non-bank mortgage data. The warning letters flag that entities that meet certain requirements are required to collect, record, and report mortgage lending data. The letters say that recipients should review their practices to ensure they comply with all relevant laws. The companies are encouraged to respond to the Bureau to advise if they have taken, or will take, steps to ensure compliance with the law.

The CFPB urges consumers to contact them if they feel their mortgage company is not complying with the reporting requirements required under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

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