CAPAC Leaders Praise FHFA Requirement of Home Mortgage Language Preference Question

May 5, 2022 Issues: Housing

Washington, D.C. — On Tuesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will now require lenders to ask applicants for their language preference during the home purchase process. The Enterprises will mandate usage of the Supplemental Consumer Information Form (SCIF) for any home loans they purchase. This form collects information about the applicant’s language preference and any homebuyer education or housing counseling they may have received. This requirement will apply to, on average, 54% of all home loans issued per year.

Following a push by Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community organizations and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) members, a language preference question was previously included on the Universal Residential Loan Application. However, it was removed during the Trump Administration. CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) and Rep. Al Green (TX-09), Chair of the CAPAC’s Housing Task Force, issued the following statements upon the announcement of the new requirement:

“Buying a home is a complex and high-stakes process for anyone. Unfortunately, for limited English proficient (LEP) homebuyers, that process is further complicated by language barriers. Requiring the use of a language preference question will allow lenders to better understand and meet the needs of LEP homebuyers. This requirement will simplify the homebuying process for the one third of AANHPIs who are LEP and help address inequities in AANHPI homeownership rates,” said CAPAC Chair Chu. “I thank President Biden and FHFA Acting Director Thompson for making this important and impactful change.”

“Promoting language accessibility and ensuring access to educational services in the home lending industry have been longstanding priorities of mine. After communicating with the directors of the FHFA and CFPB through multiple administrations, and advocating for beneficial changes in the home loan application process, I am very gratified to see the FHFA implement required usage of the SCIF. The required use of the SCIF is a critical step to ensuring more qualified applicants can access the resources and services needed to own a home,” said CAPAC Housing Task Force Chair Green. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact the FHFA’s change will have on countless Americans and their dreams of homeownership.”