People are always talking about the value of data about web browsing habits. They don’t talk nearly enough about the value of data about mortgage shopping habits. Regulators and researchers do not know nearly enough about how borrowers and lenders interact in the mortgage business — and the stakes are high, given that a home is often the biggest investment that a household ever makes. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking to make some modest improvements to the federal government’s existing data collection pursuant to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) through a proposed rule.
Under this proposed rule,
financial institutions generally would be required to report all closed-end loans, open-end lines of credit, and reverse mortgages secured by dwellings. Unsecured home improvement loans would no longer be reported. Thus, financial institutions would no longer be required to ascertain an applicant’s intended purpose for a dwelling-secured loan to determine if the loan is required to be reported under Regulation C, though they would still itemize dwelling-secured loans by different purpose when reporting. Certain types of loans would continue to be excluded from Regulation C requirements, including loans on unimproved land and temporary financing. Reverse mortgages and open-end lines of credit would be identified as such to allow for differentiation from other loan types. Further, many of the data points would be modified to take account of the characteristics of, and to clarify reporting requirements for,different types of loans. The Bureau believes these proposals will yield more consistent and useful data and better align Regulation C with the current housing finance market. (79 F.R. 51733)
This seems like a reasonable proposal. It increases the amount of information that is to be collected about important consumer products such as reverse mortgages. At the same time, it releases lenders from having to determine borrowers’ intentions about how they will use their loan proceeds, something that can be hard to do and to document well.
There is more to the proposed rule than this, so take a look at it and consider commenting on it. Comments are due by October 29, 2014.