Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced that the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has taken important action to better serve homebuyers with limited English proficiency by including a language preference question and housing counseling information in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA). In 2019, Senator Cortez Masto led her colleagues in a letter calling on FHFA to reverse its decision to remove the language preference of the borrower from the URLA. Such information helps ensure that lenders are aware of borrowers’ language preferences and connect them with language-appropriate housing counseling organizations. The language preference question and housing counseling agency information help improve access to mortgage loan products and credit for a growing and diverse segment of America’s housing finance market.
“Every borrower deserves to understand what they’re signing up for when they take out a mortgage. This step will help ensure that thousands of borrowers in Nevada with limited English proficiency have equal access to homeownership. I’ll continue to work in the Senate to make sure Nevadans in all our communities have the opportunity to own a home.”
In November 2017, the FHFA sought public comments on including the language preference question and housing counseling agency information on the URLA. Extensive public support encouraged the change. However, before the new form became operational, in 2019, under then-Director Mark Calabria, FHFA decided not to require this information on the pending form. Senator Cortez Masto led 19 Senators in a letter urging FHFA to reconsider and include this information, which helps limited English-proficient borrowers have access to sustainable mortgages.
Senator Cortez Masto has led in the Senate on the issue of affordable housing and in ensuring protections for homeowners and renters. She has led multiple bills to increase federal and private funding for housing, prevent housing discrimination, and hold lenders accountable for discrimination in mortgage lending. She also successfully passed legislation to ensure that state and local governments consider manufactured housing when prioritizing their housing investments.