Limited English Proficiency

Throughout the past few years, the CFPB has sought input from a range of stakeholders, including community-based organizations and financial institutions, for feedback about how it can improve consumer financial products and services for consumers with limited English proficiency (LEP).  As a part of these efforts, the CFPB has taken the following actions: in 2020, it published a Request for Information regarding challenges faced by LEP consumers and hosted a roundtable to discuss these challenges with stakeholders; in 2021, it published a statement providing compliance principles and guidelines on assisting LEP consumers. … Continue Reading

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement agreement with Washington Trust Company, of Westerly (WTC) to resolve claims that WTC redlined majority Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Rhode Island.

In its complaint against WTC, DOJ alleged that the following practices were used to discriminate against Black and Hispanic borrowers from 2016 to at least 2021:

  • WTC located and maintained all of its Rhode Island branches and loan officers outside of majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods (WTC designated all five counties in Rhode Island as its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) assessment area);
  • WTC never had a branch in a majority-Black and Hispanic census tract despite the significant presence of majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods and census tracts throughout Rhode Island;
  • WTC did not assign a single mortgage loan officer to conduct outreach, market, advertise, or generate loans from majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods;
  • WTC failed to conduct outreach, marketing, and advertising of mortgage services in majority-Black and Hispanic areas;
  • WTC received only 2.4% of its mortgage loan applications from residents of, or for properties located in, majority-Black and Hispanic areas in its CRA assessment area, compared to 9.5% for its peer lenders, and on average 46.5% of the applications generated by WTC in those areas were from White applicants, compared to 25% for its peers.
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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced in Mortgagee Letter 2023.13 that lenders must use the Supplemental Consumer Information Form (SCIF) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in connection with FHA insured mortgage loans with application dates on or after August 28, 2023.

As previously reported, in May 2022 the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that for residential mortgage loans to be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac with application dates on or after March 1, 2023, the lender must present a SCIF to collect information on the applicant’s language preference. … Continue Reading

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently announced that for residential mortgage loans to be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac with application dates on or after March 1, 2023, the lender must present a Supplemental Consumer Information Form (SCIF) to collect information on the applicant’s language preference.  Previous plans to include a language preference question in the redesigned Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) were scuttled by the Trump Administration.… Continue Reading

A new Nevada law that becomes effective on October 1, 2021 requires translated documents to be provided to consumers by businesses that advertise and negotiate transactions covered by the law in a language other than English (or allow their agents or employees to advertise and negotiate in a language other than English). … Continue Reading

We are joined by Ena Koukourinis, Senior Counsel in the Bureau’s Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity, and Frank Vespa-Papaleo, the Office’s Deputy Director.  We discuss the statement’s background and goals, the fair lending and UDAAP concerns the statement seeks to address, key aspects of the guidance it provides, and Bureau resources available to industry concerning LEP consumers.… Continue Reading

Earlier this week, the CFPB announced that it has filed its first enforcement action under the leadership of Acting Director Uejio.  The lawsuit was filed in a Virginia federal district court jointly with the Attorneys General of Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York.  The complaint names as defendants Libre by Nexus, Inc.… Continue Reading

As we recently reported, the CFPB released new guidance on January 13, 2021, in an effort to give industry participants more concrete guidance about how to tackle the sometimes-daunting issue of serving customers in non-English languages.  Director Kraninger announced the guidance in a blog post of her own, and reached out with telephone calls to announce the release of the guidance. … Continue Reading

In a development welcomed by industry members, the CFPB published today a “Statement Regarding the Provision of Financial Products and Services to Consumers with Limited English Proficiency.”  The Statement is intended to provide “compliance principles and guidelines to inform and assist financial institutions in their decision making related to serving LEP consumers.”… Continue Reading

As discussed in our June 12th and August 7th posts, The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) issued new debt collection rules related to limited English proficiency servicing, which took effect June 27, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the DCA provided the industry with a 60-day enforcement grace period until August 26, 2020.… Continue Reading