The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has introduced a set of Web-based tools to provide consumers with easier access to public mortgage data collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).
These new tools can help lenders determine how well they are serving the housing needs of their communities. In addition, they provide public officials with information that they can use to make decisions and set policies. What's more, the tools can be used for detecting discriminatory practices in lending.
‘Just as the real estate motto 'location, location, location' was true before the recent financial crisis, it was true for the crisis,’ Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB, says in a release. ‘Every community was affected differently.’
‘Our tool puts valuable information into the hands of the public in an accessible way, so they can understand what is happening in their local mortgage markets,’ Cordray adds. ‘A more transparent mortgage market will lead to a better marketplace and better outcomes for consumers.’
Enacted in 1975, the HMDA requires most mortgage lenders to make loan information available to the public. In 2012, there were approximately 18.7 million HMDA records from 7,400 financial institutions.
This database includes information on a majority of the mortgage applications and closed mortgages nationwide.
Rulemaking authority over HMDA was transferred from the Federal Reserve Board to the CFPB on July 21, 2011. Other federal banking regulators and the Department of Housing and Urban Development share responsibility for maintaining the database.
Currently, the tool provides access to loan records for 2010 through 2012. It looks specifically at first-lien, owner-occupied, one- to four-room family and manufactured homes.
The tool can be used to track trends nationally, as well as on the state and local level. It includes a heat map showing where origination volume is trending upward and also includes interactive graphs that can be used to explore millions of data points.
One graph shows that nationwide, loans for home purchases increased by 13% from 2011 to 2012. Of the nearly 13 million applications in 2012 for home purchase loans, home improvement loans and refinancing, more than 8 million resulted in loan originations. What's more, the number of loan originations increased by about 2.4 million, or 39%, from 2011 to 2012.
There are also charts showing trends in refinancing, as well as Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veteran's Affairs (VA) lending. For example, the number of refinancing applications increased from 6.6 million in 2011 to 9.3 million in 2012, while the number of refinance loan originations increased from 3.8 million in 2011 to 5.9 million in 2012, a 54% increase. Meanwhile, FHA- and VA-backed loans accounted for about 15% and 7%, respectively, of home purchase, refinance and home improvement loans combined in 2012. In 2011, these figures were 18% and 6%, respectively.
For more, check out the CFPB's release.