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Language Access


The Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) 2018 Scorecard for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Common Securitization Solutions requires the Enterprises to continue to support access to credit for mortgage-ready borrowers with limited English proficiency (LEP), including finalizing a multi-year language access plan and beginning plan implementation.  The Language Access Multi-Year Plan (published May 2018) was developed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in conjunction with FHFA based on research and testing conducted in 2017 (described below) to identify major obstacles for LEP borrowers in accessing mortgage credit and to analyze potential solutions.  Key milestones include:

  • Clearinghouse:  Create an online clearinghouse to provide a centralized collection of resources to assist lenders, servicers, and housing counselors in serving LEP borrowers.  Future versions will be designed for use by LEP borrowers.  The clearinghouse was launched in October 2018.
  • Language Access Working Group:  Establish a language access working group as a forum for representatives from the housing industry and consumer organizations to provide FHFA and the Enterprises their insights, commentary, and experiences related to serving LEP borrowers.
  • Glossaries:  Develop translated glossaries that will play a foundational role for improving language access by establishing common terminology that will facilitate standardized translations for all other documents.
  • Disclosure:  Develop a translated disclosure available for use by lenders and servicers to explain that mortgage transactions are likely to be conducted in English, and that identification of a preferred language by the borrower does not mean that lenders or servicers are able to provide, or agree to provide, communications in the preferred language.
  • Language Access Line:  Develop and implement a language access line that enables borrowers to obtain assistance from housing counselors and others in their preferred language.
LEP Multi-year plan cover photo 

View the Plan

In addition, as part of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s URLA announcement in August 2019, a voluntary consumer information form (VCIF) will be developed for lenders to collect preferred language information should they choose to do so.  For more information and questions about updated URLA requirements, please see Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s Aug. 8, 2019 joint announcement.  

2016 - 2017 Language Access Activities of FHFA and the Enterprises
FHFA's 2017 Scorecard for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Common Securitization Solutions required the Enterprises to identify major obstacles for LEP borrowers in accessing mortgage credit, analyze potential solutions, and develop a multi-year plan to support improved access.  

As part of this research, in May 2017 FHFA requested public input on issues faced by LEP borrowers throughout the mortgage life cycle to better understand the experiences of these borrowers and the mortgage industry participants who serve them.  FHFA and the Enterprises also conducted outreach to industry and consumer groups on these issues. 

The Enterprises conducted interviews and focus groups with borrowers whose primary language was not English and with lenders and servicers.  These interviews and focus groups examined how limited English proficient borrowers engage in the mortgage process and how lenders and servicers engage with them.  Each round of testing was conducted by Kleimann Communication Group on behalf of the Enterprises.  Results from these interviews and focus groups are detailed in Kleimann's April 2017 report.

Request for Input


Improving Language Access in Mortgage Lending and Servicing Request for Input

  • [Note: Input period closed September 1]

View Input Submitted

  • [Select Language Access topic in the pull down.]

   

Links:


Joint Announcement: URLA February 1, 2020 Mandate Rescheduled; New Requirements Provided (8/8/2019)

News Release: Mortgage Translations Clearinghouse Launched to Help Borrowers with English Language Barriers (10/15/2018)

Comunicado de Prensa: Se lanza el Centro de Traducciones Hipotecarias como ayuda para los prestatarios con barreras en usar el inglés (10/15/2018)

Video: Introducing Mortgage Translations (10/15/2018) 

Mortgage translations flyer thumbnailq
Mortgage Translations:  A New Clearinghouse to Support Limited English Proficient (LEP) Borrowers (10/15/2018)

Blog: Mortgage Translations Clearinghouse Aims to Assist Homebuyers in Their Language​(10/4/2018)

Language Access Multi-Year Plan (5/10/2018)

News Release: Preferred Language Question to be Added to the Redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application (10/20/2017)

Comunicado de Prensa: Pregunta sobre el lenguaje de preferencia será añadida a la solicitud rediseñada del Préstamo Hipotecario Residencial Uniforme (10/20/2017)

Preferred Language Question for the Uniform Residential Loan Application (10/20/2017)

Preferred Language Consumer Testing Briefing (September 2017 Testing) - Conducted by Kleimann Communication Group (10/20/2017)

FHFA Reopens and Extends Deadline to September 1 on RFI to Improve Access to Credit for Qualified Mortgage Borrowers with Limited English Proficiency (8/4/2017)

Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) Round 7 Consumer Testing Briefing (July 2016) - Conducted by Kleimann Communication Group (8/4/2017)

FHFA Extends Deadline to July 31 on Request for Input to Improve Access to Credit for Qualified Mortgage Borrowers with Limited English Proficiency (6/29/2017)

Language Access for Limited English Proficiency Borrowers: Final Report - Conducted by Kleimann Communication Group for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (April 2017) (6/14/2017)

FHFA Issues Request for Input to Improve Access to Credit for Qualified Mortgage Borrowers with Limited English Proficiency (5/25/2017)​​​​​

Last updated: 8/20/2019

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