WASHINGTON (9/12/08)—Data on mortgage lending transactions by credit unions, banks and thrifts throughout the United States in 2007 is now available through the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). The report covers the mortgage activity of 8,610 financial institutions covered by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). Those covered institutions include, but are not limited to credit unions, banks, savings associations, and independent mortgage companies. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is currently analyzing the just-released mortgage lending data, particularly credit union information, and will report any significant trends. Mike Schenk, CUNA vice president of economics and statistics, noted it will take time to cull the enormous HMDA database. However, he said CUNA expects the numbers to show that credit unions, compared to other lenders, continue to be more likely to approve mortgage loan applications, and that their relatively high approval rates will continue to stand out across the income spectrum and in all key ethnic groupings. Schenk said the FFEIC numbers also historically have shown credit unions to be much less likely to saddle consumers with high-cost loans and that credit unions remain true to their mission: compared to other lenders, credit unions reported a larger share of the total mortgage lending to low/moderate income consumers. “My expectation is that, at a minimum, the new numbers will show a continuation of these impressive credit union results. I won't be surprised if, compared to other lenders, credit unions look even better than they have in the past,” Schenk said Thursday. He anticipated the FFEIC data will reflect that credit unions have remained active, responsible lenders during the ongoing housing downturn, which has caused many other lenders to significantly tighten underwriting standards and substantially curtail or completely abandon the mortgage market. “Credit unions were not contributors to the subprime mess, and have remained active, responsible lenders - the FFIEC data should reflect this fact,” the CUNA economist said. In more general terms, an FFIEC release noted that the 2007 HMDA data shows reductions in activity both in the overall mortgage market and in higher-priced lending. Factors contributing to the slowing were identified as slower or declining house price appreciation and tighter underwriting standards. In addition, part of the reduction in lending activity appears to be due to the nonreporting of loans by institutions that reported data for 2006 but discontinued operations during 2007. HMDA was enacted by Congress in 1975 and is intended, in part, to determine whether mortgage lenders are meeting the needs of their communities and to identify possible discriminatory lending patterns. The HMDA data show disposition of loan applications and include information on loan type, purpose, and amount; property type (1- to 4-family, multifamily, or manufactured housing); property location (MSA, state, county, and census tract); applicant characteristics (race, ethnicity, sex, and income); and census tract characteristics (minority composition and income). The FFIEC release said differences in the incidence of higher-priced lending between racial and ethnic groups continued in 2007, as did differences in denial rates on loan applications. “These differences continue to raise concerns about the terms, cost and availability of credit to minority applicants and borrowers, and lending practices in minority neighborhoods,” the FFIEC noted. The FFIEC is comprised of the National Credit Union Administration, Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Office of Thrift Supervision. Use the resource links below to read more from the FFIEC or to order the HMDA report.