U.S. Government Agencies will Develop National Mortgage Database

by 04 Nov 2012

Two federal agencies have agreed to form a partnership to develop and maintain a National Mortgage Database, the first of its kind in the history of government oversight of mortgage lending operations. The government entities involved are the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), two agencies created in the wake of the financial meltdown of 2008. The FHFA is the current conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; the CFPB is the rulemaking authority in charge of defining the future of mortgage lending according to the Dodd-Frank Act. 

The proposed database will feature a sampling of mortgage records from credit records kept by the major credit reporting bureaus Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. These records will in turn be matched to other sources of mortgage data like the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) database and property assessment records kept by county appraisers. According to the official press release by the FHFA on this matter, personally identifiable information on borrowers will not be kept in the National Mortgage Database. The information contained in the database will be made available for public research, but the FHFA has stated that precautions will be made to ensure that individual borrowers will not be identified. 

The goal of the database will be to keep comprehensive and detailed mortgage data that can be parsed by regulatory agencies, policymakers, legislators, and researchers. The data collected will be retroactive to 1998, and some of the datasets offered will include credit profiles, loan terms, payment history, and valuation data from the subject properties tracked. An additional purpose of the database is to comply with the monthly report of the national mortgage market. 

The National Mortgage Database will be the first of its kind in the sense that it will consolidate the numerous numerous mortgage data repositories in the United States, both public and private. One of the most important functions of the database will be to provide a snapshot of the overall health of the mortgage market in an almost real-time fashion. The information will not be limited to mortgage payments being made on time; the database will also provide data on the performance of loan modifications and the status of foreclosures. This flow of information can help determine if the credit markets are headed towards disaster like back in 2008.

The FHFA and CFPB expect that the first dataset from the new National Mortgage Database will be available sometime in 2013. The terms for database development, funding and maintenance were recently set with the execution of an Inter-Agency Agreement. FHFA acting director Edward J. DeMarco commented that the database will answer important questions about the evolution of the mortgage and housing markets as they continue to recover.


Should CFPB have more supervision over credit agencies?