Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

December 17, 2012

CFPB Issues Fair Lending Report That Highlights Data Collection

By David Reiss

The Fair Lending Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides an overview of the Bureau’s actions over the last year.  Some of the most interesting elements of the report relate to future HMDA and TILA rulemaking:

Section 1094 of the Dodd-Frank Act amends HMDA to require the collection and submission of additional data fields related to mortgage loans, including certain applicant, loan, and property characteristics, as well as “such other information as the Bureau may require.” The CFPB is examining what changes it may propose to Regulation C. . . .

Finally, section 1403 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires that the CFPB prescribe regulations under TILA to prohibit “abusive or unfair lending practices that promote disparities among consumers of equal credit worthiness but of different race, ethnicity, gender or age. The CFPB has begun preliminary planning with regard to this rule. (26) (emphasis added)

Data collection about borrower and mortgage characteristics is very fraught.  Lenders have typically fought against efforts to increase such data collection as it could only hurt them if others knew their business so well.  Academics and consumer advocates have complained that data about the mortgage market is very hard to come by unless one had massive financial resources to pay private providers for it.

This was especially true, given the rapid rate of change in that market.  Working with data that is twelve months old was the same as working with outdated information during the Boom years of the early 2000s.  If the CFPB collects and analyzes data in something approximating real-time, it will be far more nimble than previous regulators.  If it shares its data with outside researchers, it is likely to become even more sophisticated in its approach to the dynamic housing finance sector.

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