CFPB details what mortgage data will be public in 2019

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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued guidance late Friday that will shield some mortgage data from the public that lenders are required to report.

The final guidance, as part of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, will make some new mortgage data available to the public next year. But the CFPB said it also made some changes to protect consumers’ identities, such as excluding a borrower’s credit score and address, while disclosing certain ranges on the debt-to-income ratio.

“The purposes of HMDA are to provide the public and public officials with sufficient information to enable them to determine whether financial institutions are serving the housing needs of their communities,” the CFPB said in a press release. The HMDA data is also meant to “assist public officials in distributing public-sector investment so as to attract private investment to areas where it is needed; and assist in identifying possible discriminatory lending patterns and enforcing antidiscrimination statutes.”

The CFPB solicited comments on its proposed HMDA guidance in September 2017, prior to President Trump naming Mick Mulvaney as the CFPB’s acting director. Kathy Kraninger took the helm earlier this month.

The agency was required by the Dodd-Frank Act to oversee and strengthen HMDA requirements partly in response to the financial crisis and concerns that there was not enough mortgage data made available to predict the housing collapse.

The CFPB finalized the additional HMDA reporting requirements in 2015, most of which took effect Jan. 1, 2018. Congress also changed that part of the Dodd-Frank Act in May by exempting many lenders from reporting the additional HMDA data.

The CFPB had long received criticisms about whether it would make the additional mortgage data available to the public despite some privacy concerns.

After reviewing comments from the HMDA proposal last year, the CFPB has taken steps to protect the most sensitive consumer data.

“For example, the bureau intends to exclude certain data from the public HMDA data, including the property address and applicant’s credit score,” the agency said.

The CFPB will disclose certain information as a range rather than a specific value for items like an applicant’s age, the loan amount and number of units in the dwelling. The guidance also said it will disclose a borrower’s monthly debt-to-income score mostly by grouping it into ranges such as 20% to 30%; more than 30% but less than 36%; and 36% to 50%, for example.

This final policy guidance applies to HMDA data that lenders gather beginning in 2018.

The CFPB added that it will separately solicit comment on whether to make any further modifications of HMDA data into the text of Regulation C next year.

“That rulemaking will enable the bureau to further consider, on the basis of additional comments, what HMDA data will be disclosed in future years,” the agency said. “The bureau intends to commence such a rulemaking in 2019.”

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