ABA and several trade associations today wrote to FHFA Director Watt urging the agency to omit from the Uniform Residential Loan Application a proposed question that asks borrowers to indicate their language preference. The groups pointed out that the inclusion of the question raises serious compliance and legal concerns.
For example, the question’s inclusion would raise compliance questions with respect to Dodd-Frank mortgage rules, which are “outside the purview of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and within the purview of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau… and other agencies.”
The associations further pointed out that including a language preference question would create a reasonable expectation that the customer would receive communication in their designated language, and that there are currently no rules to guide lenders on what they should do in light of a borrower’s response. If a borrower indicated a non-English preference and the lender did not proceed in that language, the lender could be exposed to UDAAP liability, they added.
“At this point, the inclusion of the subject question would only create confusion, uncertainty and potential liability,” the groups wrote. “Given the implications across federal agencies, we urge the FHFA to abandon this proposal or, at the very least, seek broader interagency and stakeholder input before proceeding further with this addition to the URLA.”