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HMDA: What Is the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and Why Is It Important?

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The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) is a federal law that requires lenders to share their mortgage data so it’s possible to better determine and dismantle credit discrimination practices. Mortgage lenders must gather, maintain and share specific data about the applications they receive and the loans they issue that are for purchasing, refinancing and home improvement.

How does the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) work?

The HMDA was enacted in 1975 to provide the information needed to combat housing discrimination. After the 2008 housing market crash, the Dodd-Frank Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and put the HMDA in its care. It also updated the law to require that lenders report a greater amount of data.

What’s included in HMDA reporting?

Every home loan application is recorded in a loan application register (LAR). The data is anonymized and released annually. It includes the following information:

  • Loan: Application date, loan type, loan purpose, loan amount and rate spread
  • Collateral: Property type and location
  • Applicants: Ethnicity, race, gender and gross annual income
  • Loan status: Approved, withdrawn or denied
  • Denial reason: If the loan was denied, the reason it was denied

Why is HMDA reporting important?

The HDMA only requires that lenders disclose data in a report. HMDA reporting however can then be used to:

  1. Identify causes of lending discrimination, specifically housing credit descrimination
  2. Identify, track and better serve the housing needs of communities with public and community investment initiatives
  3. Recognize predatory lending practices and enforce anti-discrimination statutes

Both government entities — such as the CFPB and the Federal Trade Commission — and the general public review and monitor the data.

Where can you find HMDA data?

There are several ways to find HMDA data:

Resources on fair housing and fair lending

Despite the active policies to counter it, housing discrimination still occurs. Here are further resources if you’d like more information on how to make a complaint, what your rights are and where you can find local help.

Official complaints

This U.S. government page is a guide on how to make official complaints against mortgage lenders, including which agency to contact depending on the reason for your complaint. It also features additional resources, such as an example complaint letter.

Legal information

Here are resources on national laws involving mortgages and housing:

Local agencies

You can also reach out to an agency in your area, such as:

 

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