Nearly 230 million Americans will soon be required to disclose personal information about their families and financial lives in a new national database created by two federal agencies. The agencies say that the database will benefit the government and the public regarding the changing and evolving housing finance market. Critics are questioning the need to expand the data collection because of privacy and security concerns.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) posted a notice in the Federal Register on April 16th about the expansion of their joint National Mortgage Database (NMD). The period for public comment ended on May 16th, only 12 comments were received.
U.S. House of Representative Jeb Hensarling R-Texas and Senator Mike Crapo R-Idaho in a May 15 letter to CFPB Director Richard Cordray and FHFA Director Mel Watt stated, “This expansion represents an unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of ordinary Americans.” Cordray told a committee headed by Hensarling that the database will only contain “aggregate” information and not personally identifiable data.
The agencies said that the mortgage market is the largest single market for consumer finance, but there has been a lack of comprehensive national data. The FHFA and CFPB point out that this is merely an expansion and not something new as multiple federal and state agencies and private vendors already collect much of this information. This initiative would create one point of entry for all data.
The CFPB and FHFA’s examples of how the NMD can support their work include:
The National Mortgage Database will collect information such as:
The NMD was created because of a 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) mandate as a result of Congress requiring a monthly mortgage survey. Congress didn’t explicitly require or authorize the data collection in the form of the NMD, therefore the U.S. Chamber of Commerce disagrees with it.
Do you think that the National Mortgage Database will benefit consumers and the government?
Mortgage News Daily. “FHFA, CFPB to Cooperate on National Mortgage Database” 4 June 2014.http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/11012012_mortgage_information.asp
Washington Examiner. “New federal database will track Americans’ credit ratings, other financial information” 4 May 2014. http://washingtonexaminer.com/new-federal-database-will-track-americans-credit-ratings-other-financial-information/article/2549064
Federal Register. “Notice Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records” 4 May 2014.https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/04/16/2014-08566/privacy-act-of-1974-system-of-records#h-16