Removing Barriers Blog

House Members and CUNA Urge Changes to FHFA Proposal on Adding Language Preference Question to URLA
Posted July 13, 2016 by CUNA Advocacy

Over 50 members of Congress recently wrote a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt, to urge his agency to reconsider adding language to the Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA), which will ask borrowers to indicate their language preference.  The FHFA proposed this language at the tail end of a lengthy and open process to make other revisions to the URLA and caught many stakeholders by surprise.  While the agency has indicated that the question was for data collection and to help servicers in their relationship with borrowers, the language raises numerous concerns for lenders, including ECOA, UDAAP, and other practical and operational issues.

In furtherance of the Congressional efforts, representatives from CUNA met today with the FHFA to articulate their concerns.  We are encouraged by FHFA’s willingness to listen to our issues, and it is now considering other options on the URLA language. 

The possible alternatives area as follows: 

1.  FHFA may include the language on 2 Surveys of Mortgage Originators and the American Survey of Borrowers which will go out next Fall and next Spring;

2. Issue a Request for Input or Request for Information that will focus on the best way to get information on Language Preference;

3.  Work with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to enhance the tools already in place at the agencies on language preference; or

4. Form an interagency working group with public input to devise the best solution to this issue.

We will continue to urge the FHFA to provide an open and transparent process on this important and far-reaching proposal.