FHFA launches resources for lenders serving Spanish-speaking borrowers

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WASHINGTON — Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their regulator have launched an online clearinghouse with resources to assist lenders in serving borrowers with limited English proficiency.

The first phase of the launch of Mortgage Translations consists of Spanish-language documents, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said in a press release. The online collection will feature mortgage documents, educational materials and an online Spanish-English glossary that was produced in collaboration with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Limited English-proficient borrowers constitute a growing share of the mortgage market, and lenders currently lack tools to serve these customers, the agency and the government-sponsored enterprises said.

In the coming years, the agency will also add resources in Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Tagalog, which were identified as other commonly spoken languages in LEP households.

“The materials included on this website will provide lenders, servicers, real estate professionals and housing counselors with tools to better assist, educate and engage LEP borrowers throughout the mortgage process,” said Danny Gardner, the senior vice president of single-family affordable lending and access to credit at Freddie Mac, in a statement.

Jonathan Lawless, vice president for product development and affordable housing at Fannie, said the company is "excited to partner with FHFA and Freddie Mac to launch this central source of translated documents. This online resource will educate, engage and better assist LEP borrowers when shopping for a mortgage.”

Mortgage Translations is one component of the FHFA’s Language Access Multi-Year Plan, which the agency released in May, said Janell Byrd-Chichester, the chief of staff at the FHFA.

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