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Fed Considers Mortgage Disclosure Rules Ahead of Financial Reform

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Board of governors of the Federal Reserve System member Elizabeth Duke today opened the first of four hearings on potential revisions to Regulation C, which implements the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). Today marks the beginning of a series of hearings designed to update the Fed on the effectiveness of mortgage regulations on originators. Panelists for the first hearing -- announced last week -- include representatives from community and consumer organizations, mortgage lenders and researchers, among others. In opening remarks at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Duke noted the particular relevance of reviewing mortgage disclosure requirements as the Senate prepares to vote on HR 4173 -- The Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 -- which passed cloture in the Senate this morning by a 60-38 vote. "[S]ince we began planning these hearings, changes to the HMDA data requirements have been included in the regulatory reform bill currently being considered by the Congress," Duke said. The financial reform bill would transfer authority for HMDA rule-making from the Board of Governors to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Duke noted the hearings beginning today would help gather information to inform the Fed's rule-writing work. "When rulemaking authority transfers to the CFPB, be assured that we will hand over the most current thinking about changes to Regulation C," Duke said. Today's hearing is designed to facilitate discussion of whether the 2002 revisions to Regulation C provided useful and accurate information about the mortgage market. The hearing also aims to gather information that will help assess the need for additional data elements or improvements. It will also serve to identify emerging issues in the mortgage market that may require additional research. Duke said the goal of the Fed's series of hearings is to ensure that the mortgage market is responsible, transparent, efficient, and serves the needs of consumers and market participants alike. Additional hearings will be held August 5 and September 16 at the Federal Reserve Banks of San Francisco and Chicago. The final hearing, to be held September 24, will take place at the Federal Reserve Board. Write to Diana Golobay.

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