Trade Groups Balk at FHFA Borrower Survey

Trade Groups Balk at FHFA Borrower Survey

January 12, 2016

A coalition of financial services trade associations sent a joint letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) expressing concern over its proposed survey to borrowers that will collect data for the upcoming National Mortgage Database project.

The survey, which mortgage borrowers will be able to fill out on a voluntary basis, is designed to have up to 85 questions regarding their home loan experience. This new survey will replace the current FHFA National Survey of Mortgage Borrowers. 

The trade groups questioned whether the new survey is “overly extensive” in its questioning and if it would duplicate similar surveying by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The groups also expressed concern over potential data breaches of the collected data.

"Clearly, the information contained in the Database is broad and highly sensitive," the letter said. "While any breach would be a serious problem, the problem of re-identification is even more serious. Data in the Database can be pieced together with data from other private and public databases to identify individual borrowers and associate an even greater amount of confidential information with them. There would be great harm to consumers if the information were to be released carelessly or unwittingly, or if it were to be accessed by individuals aiming to do harm." 

The trade groups signing the letter included the American Bankers Association; the American Financial Services Association; the American Land Title Association; the Consumer Bankers Association; the Consumer Mortgage Coalition; Credit Union National Association; the Housing Policy Council of the Financial Services Roundtable; the Independent Community Bankers of America; the Mortgage Bankers Association; and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.