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CFPB sued over unlawful mortgage transparency rule

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and its co-plaintiffs – Montana Fair Housing (MFH), Texas Low Income Housing Information Service (TxLIHIS), Empire Justice Center (EJC), and the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD) – asked the Texas federal court to restore the mortgage lending transparency obligations.

“This ruling partially overturns a Trump-era rule that blocked a significant portion of the mortgage industry from reporting information about who they were approving and denying for loans,” NCRC president and CEO Jesse Van Tol said. “Public data on home mortgage lending is crucial to combating modern-day redlining and other forms of illegal discrimination that contribute to the savage inequalities plaguing our country. By recognizing that the prior administration had been arbitrary and capricious and bringing sunlight back into mortgage lending data, the court helps to vindicate the federal government’s longstanding efforts to deliver equality of opportunity.”

Read more: Lender group asks CFPB to delay new HMDA requirements

Adam Pulver, the lead attorney on the case, said: “Congress has recognized that the burden of HMDA disclosure requirements is outweighed by the benefits that result from transparency as to lending activity. It was clear to us and the court that CFPB ignored those benefits, and Congress’s wishes, to increase the threshold for no other reason than to increase lender profit. We look forward to CFPB’s prompt implementation of the decision.”

“Nearly 50 years since HMDA and the anti-redlining Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) were passed and communities and neighborhoods of color continue to face a widening racial wealth gap and modern-day redlining,” said ANHD executive director Barika Williams. “The Trump administration’s unlawful decision to raise reporting thresholds to shield lenders from scrutiny weakened HMDA and undermined efforts to identify disparities in lending. We are pleased that the court set aside that decision as to closed-end loans and restored access to this important data. Comprehensive local data, disaggregated by race, is critical for ANHD’s work identifying and documenting ongoing disparities and advocating for race-conscious policies marginalized communities need to combat redlining, speculation, and displacement.”

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