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FHFA releases plan to increase access to credit for limited English proficiency borrowers

Language Access Multi-Year Plan analyses obstacles and potential solutions

The Federal Housing Finance Agency released its Language Access Multi-Year Plan, which outlines major obstacles for limited English proficiency borrowers and lays out potential solutions.

Last year, the FHFA issued a Request for Input on issues facing qualified mortgage borrowers with limited English proficiency in order gauge how they can better serve them.

According to the FHFA's 2018 Scorecard for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Common Securitization Solutions, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are required to identify major obstacles for LEP borrowers in accessing mortgage credit and to analyze potential solutions.

The GSEs developed the Language Access Multi-Year Plan based on testing conducted back in 2017.

Here are some of the key milestones included in the plan:

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.

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.

Click here to read more about the FHFA’s previous work to extend credit access to LEP borrowers and what it did before releasing its plan.

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