Government LendingMortgage

Senators introduce bill targeting mortgage trigger leads

The MBA supports the bill and a similar one in the House

A coalition of bipartisan lawmakers in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday introduced legislation targeting the practice of mortgage trigger leads.

The bill, designated “S.3502,” is designed to “amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to prevent consumer reporting agencies from furnishing consumer reports under certain circumstances,” according to the bill’s language. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) is the bill’s sponsor, with Sen. Bill Haggerty (R-Tenn.) serving as co-sponsor.

A trigger lead is where consumer credit reporting agencies share with other lenders that a “hard credit report” was pulled for a mortgage application. This can lead to an onslaught of calls to that consumer vying for their lending business.

The senators introduced the bill into the Senate on Wednesday, which then referred it to its Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. That committee will need to approve the measure before it can come to the Senate floor.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) chimed in on the renewed effort, saying it is in support of the newly introduced bill.

“MBA and its members have led the industry in advocating for legislative reforms to stop the unwanted harassment of consumers resulting from trigger lead abuses,” said Bob Broeksmit, president and CEO of MBA. “We commend Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) for introducing the Homebuyers Privacy Protection Act to protect consumers while preserving the legitimate use of trigger leads in appropriately narrow circumstances during a real estate transaction.”

MBA also committed to supporting a similar piece of legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year, which also targets the trigger lead practice.

“We will advocate for this important bipartisan Senate bill, along with the Protecting Consumers from Abusive Mortgage Leads Act (H.R. 4198) introduced earlier this year and led in the House by Reps. John Rose (R-Tenn.) and Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), to be passed into law as soon as possible.”

Late in the day on Thursday, both the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) released their own public statements of support for the bill, with NAMB saying it has advocated for action on this issue for “the past three Congresses.”

ICBA added that the privacy concerns of customers need to be prioritized.

“ICBA and the nation’s community banks thank Sens. Reed and Hagerty for introducing the Homebuyers Privacy Protection Act to restrict the sale of trigger leads and give consumers more control over their private financial information and shield them from unwanted solicitations,” said Rebeca Romero Rainey, president and CEO of ICBA.

Sen. Reed spearheaded a different effort to crack down on the mortgage trigger lead practice in April but it didn’t get much traction. That bill had one other Democratic co-sponsor, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), whereas this new effort has bipartisan support.

In a Senate hearing earlier this month featuring Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra, Reed took the opportunity to ask about the practice of mortgage trigger leads. Chopra agreed with Reed’s characterizations of the practice as confusing for consumers, but described the Bureau’s authority to act on the matter as “limited.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comments from ICBA and NAMB.

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