In June 2022, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offered a public release of information from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). The HMDA provides a comprehensive source of information about the mortgage market in the United States. Under the HMDA, mortgage lenders must disclose information about each mortgage application and loan. This data helps lenders, investors, economists, urban planners, and others understand lending patterns that could be discriminatory.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency HMDA data, and National Credit Union Administration process the information on behalf of the CFPB. Together, these agencies form the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). After processing, they make it available to the public through various tools, including an online database browser and a mapping system.
To make the data easier for non-statisticians or analysts, the CFPB created a document called the Beginner’s Guide to Access and Using Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Data. It functions as a set of guidelines for accessing and using HMDA information. This document, created by the CFPB Compliance division, also aims to ensure CFPB compliance among lending institutions.
The HMDA requires financial institutions to follow CFPB compliance rules, including maintaining, reporting, and disclosing loan-level information on every mortgage. Journalists, activists, and other interested parties can use it to check whether lenders are serving the needs of community members seeking mortgage loans. Investors use the information to make decisions, and community leaders and organizations use the information to determine if lenders are making decisions with CFPB compliance in mind. Government agencies also use the HMDA data to create community housing policies.
Most mortgage lenders must report data through the HMDA. This includes banks and non-bank mortgage lenders. The CFPB Compliance division does offer a few exceptions. If an institution does not have a home or branch office in a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) by December 31, it does not have to comply with the HMDA reporting requirements. If it did have a branch or home office in an MSA, it must have received, purchased, or created at least five reportable loans for property within that same MSA to be accountable to HMDA reporting requirements.
Available data points include the purpose and type of the loan, the borrower or borrowers’ demographic information, the location and appraised value of the property, the action taken by the financial institution for the application, the total loan amount, the loan’s interest rate and points and fees associated with the loan. Not all data points apply to each loan type. For example, if the lender denied the loan, there would be no points or fees. When data isn’t required for a particular field, the data browser shows it as “not applicable.”
Before the CFPB releases the data, it modifies it slightly to protect the privacy of mortgage loan applicants and borrowers. Since Congress passed HMDA in 1975, its requirements have been modified. Most of those changes focused on what data lenders must report under the HMDA to maintain compliance with the law. Anyone can access the data by visiting https://ffiec.cfpb.gov/ and selecting the browser or the mapping tool.