The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently issued a report showing that nearly half of all borrowers did not comparison shop in connection with obtaining a mortgage. This conclusion somewhat undermines the premise that the financial crisis was wholly caused by unscrupulous lenders. Moreover, many of the regulations, disclosures and other requirements aimed at preventing deception in the marketplace appear to be less impactful given the fact that many would-be homeowners are not interested in comparing their options.
The CFPB’s solution, in large part, appears to be a service called rate-checker in which a potential borrower could input information - such as loan amount, down payment, credit score, and state - to obtain information about comparable mortgage options. However, many sites across the Internet similarly compare rates for borrowers. Hence, the ability to compare and check rates is not new. Rather, it is yet another tool - amongst those that have been available for several years - that provide borrowers information on comparable products.
Those who intentionally choose to remain uninformed despite all of the laws, disclosures, and readily available information are likely the most probable to need and obtain bailout assistance from government programs and other legal protections. Yet, it appears they wholly escape blame for their predicaments and are in the best position to avoid the repercussions of their uninformed decisions. Instead of creating more obstacles and fewer choices for borrowers who have taken the time to make informed decisions, one has to ask whether holding borrowers accountable might very well in the long run produce better results for the industry and nation as a whole.