GSEs unveil part of new mortgage app, add language resource

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The government-sponsored enterprises are moving ahead with a new mortgage application that omits a previously planned language question, but are looking to serve limited English proficiency borrowers in another way.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released static elements of the revised Uniform Residential Loan Application on Wednesday, and also announced separately that they are adding traditional Chinese language resources to a mortgage translation clearinghouse they have.

The Mortgage Bankers Association generally backs outreach to LEP borrowers, but it had opposed the FHFA's addition of a language question to the application due to concern that doing so could lead to unreasonable borrower expectations about lenders' ability to provide related services and forms.

With the addition of Chinese to its pre-existing Spanish resources, the online clearinghouse will contain information in the two most common languages spoken by limited English proficiency borrowers in the United States.

Other recent steps taken by the FHFA include the release of a request for input on a proposal that would revise the GSEs' Duty-to-Serve plans.

Among changes in the proposal are reductions in planned purchases of manufactured- and rural-housing loans, and loans that are part of a Native American conventional lending initiative. The proposed revision also adds new directions for outreach to the private sector aimed at supporting these underserved markets.

The agency will be accepting public input on its proposal through Nov. 15.

The GSEs drew up their Duty-to-Serve plans at the direction of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

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