CUNA met with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Wednesday to urge the agency to reconsider adding language preference to its Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA). CUNA previously expressed concerns about the change in a joint letter last month, and this week 55 members of Congress sent a letter to FHFA Director Mel Watt with similar concerns.
The FHFA’s change would add a question to the URLA asking borrowers to indicate their language preference. 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.
CUNA’s June letter raises these compliance and legal concerns, and believes that the changes warrant at least a vetting process before the change is made final.
The congressional letter also raises the different ways adding a language preference can mislead consumers and raise complex compliance questions.
The legislators urged the FHFA to exclude any question about foreign language questions from URLA at this time, and asked the agency to work with Congress, other federal agencies and stakeholders to develop an “effective, comprehensive approach to limited English proficiency consumers in the mortgage process.”
CUNA and other trade organizations at the Wednesday meeting with the FHFA also outlined concerns in a letter sent in advance of the meeting. During the meeting, the FHFA said it is considering other options on the URLA language.
More information on the URLA, as well as a copy of the congressional letter to the FHFA, can be found on CUNA’s Removing Barriers Blog.