FHFA, GSEs Launch Online Resource to Help Mortgage Lenders Serve LEP Borrowers

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Recognizing that limited English proficient (LEP) borrowers make up a growing share of today’s mortgage market, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), along with government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have launched a centralized clearinghouse of online resources to assist lenders, servicers, housing counselors and other real estate professionals in serving LEP borrowers.

The first phase of the launch of the new Mortgage Translations resource consists of Spanish-language documents.

According to the U.S. Census, persons who speak Spanish as their primary language comprise more than 60% of the LEP population in the U.S.

Documents in four other languages commonly spoken by LEP households – Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Tagalog – will be added in the coming years, the FHFA says in a release.

The new resource is available to lenders and other mortgage market participants that are in need of tools to help them serve these consumers.

FHFA, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae collaborated extensively with industry experts, consumer advocates, and other government agencies in developing the online collection of mortgage documents and educational materials.

The resource also includes a new online Spanish-English glossary produced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in collaboration with FHFA and the Enterprises. The glossary is expected to be particularly helpful in standardizing translations across the mortgage industry.

Janell Byrd-Chichester, chief of staff at FHFA, says the Mortgage Translations clearinghouse “is one part of a language access multi-year plan and includes a number of meaningful resources to help mortgage industry professionals reach a broader range of borrowers.”

Freddie Mac is pleased to work with FHFA and Fannie Mae on this language access multi-year plan, as it demonstrates our commitment to help make home possible for today’s borrower and the borrower of the future,” says Danny Gardner, senior vice president of single-family affordable lending and access to credit at Freddie Mac. “The materials included on this website will provide lenders, servicers, real estate professionals and housing counselors with tools to better assist, educate and engage LEP borrowers throughout the mortgage process.”

“Fannie Mae is excited to partner with FHFA and Freddie Mac to launch this central source of translated documents,” adds Jonathan Lawless, vice president for product development and affordable housing at Fannie Mae. “This online resource will educate, engage and better assist LEP borrowers when shopping for a mortgage.”

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