Magazine article American Banker

Democrats Eyeing HMDA-Like Rules for Nonmortgages

Magazine article American Banker

Democrats Eyeing HMDA-Like Rules for Nonmortgages

Article excerpt

Byline: Stacy Kaper

WASHINGTON - House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank pledged Thursday to require lenders to collect statistics on race and gender in lending areas beyond home mortgages.

The Massachusetts Democrat said he would make the issue a priority early next year.

"I can guarantee this will be very high in this committee's agenda in 2009," he said at a hearing.

Recalling the battle over collecting such information for mortgages two decades ago - a battle that resulted in the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act's enactment in 1989, Rep. Frank bemused, "With regard to collecting this data, I've seen this movie before, and it has a happy ending."

Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., who chairs the House Financial Services oversight subcommittee and ran the hearing, said he planned to build the "most comprehensive record" on the issue and would follow up soon with a hearing dedicated to examining the costs and benefits of such a reporting requirement.

Witnesses from the Government Accountability Office and the Federal Reserve Board told lawmakers they had not conducted such an analysis.

Rep. Watt responded, "It's hard to believe that as we sit here today, no one in the federal government has access to reliable data about important lending patterns and the real prospect of disparities and discrimination in the provision of credit."

Sandra Braunstein, the director of the Fed's division of consumer and community affairs, avoided taking a position on whether such a requirement was even necessary, saying that would be Congress' call. "Just as Congress required the collection, reporting, and public disclosure of applicant characteristic data in HMDA for mortgage loans, we believe that a decision about establishing a comparable collection, reporting, and public disclosure requirement for nonmortgage loans is also a decision for Congress to make," she said. …

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