Two federal agencies announced on Thursday that they are working together to create the first comprehensive repository of detailed mortgage loan information. Once in place, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will use the National Mortgage Database to support their policymaking and research efforts and to gain a better understanding of emerging mortgage and housing trends.
The database will include information spanning the life of a mortgage loan from origination through servicing and include a variety of borrower characteristics including the borrower's financial and credit profile, the mortgage product and terms, property information, and the ongoing payment history of the loan. It will not, however include personally identifiable information and the agencies said they will ensure that individual consumers cannot be identified through the database or any datasets that may be made available to researchers or the public. Data will be updated on a monthly basis and track back as far as 1998.
The database will be built by matching a nationwide sampling of credit bureau files on borrower's mortgages and payment histories with informational files such as the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) database, property valuation models, and other data files to create a comprehensive picture for each mortgage. Work has begun on the project which is expected to be completed next year. FHFA and CFPB said they are committed to exploring ways to share the database with other agencies, academics, and the public once it is complete.
The agencies said that although the mortgage market is the single largest market for consumer finance there is a lack of comprehensive data available on a complete, national scale. Information is kept by multiple federal and state agencies and private vendors but there is no single database where all the information can be found. Examples of how the National Mortgage Database can support the agencies' work include:
- Monitoring loan performance so policy makers can better understand how various loan products are being used and how they are performing.
- Conducting surveys to better understand consumer decision making and experiences across a range of topics such as mortgage shopping or distressed homeownership.
- Monitoring volume and performance of new products in the marketplace to help regulators identify potential problems or new risks
- Permitting analysis of how many homeowners have more than one mortgage and how they are performing.
- Understanding the impact of consumers' debt burden from data included about borrowers' other debt obligations.
FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco said "This partnership between FHFA and CFPB will create a unique resource that benefits the government and public as we seek to answer important questions about how the housing finance market is evolving and changing. This collaborative effort is a great way to pool expertise and leverage resources for the benefit of regulators and the public."
"In order to understand what is going on in the mortgage marketplace and develop appropriate consumer protections, we must have the best facts and data," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "This database will be a valuable tool for regulators and researchers and we look forward to partnering with FHFA on this important work."