U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Senate Colleagues Fight to Increase Fairness and Transparency in Lending Practices

WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/06/19]—Yesterday, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) took steps to improve data collection and deter discrimination in mortgage lending.

The Home Loan Quality Transparency Act would reinstate key reporting mortgage lending data reporting requirements that were repealed last year over the objections of Sen. Smith and many consumer and civil rights advocates. The new legislation to reinstate lending transparency was introduced by Sen. Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and cosponsored by Sen. Smith.

“I believe that when we have an opportunity to make our communities more inclusive, strengthen transparency, and make sure banks and lenders are playing by the rules, we should take it,” said Sen. Smith. “This legislation strengthens a key tool for community planning, combatting discriminatory practices, and is another step in doing what is right for our economy and for communities in Minnesota and across the country.”

Last year, Sen. Smith opposed a new law that exempted 85 percent of all banks and credit unions from reporting loan characteristics that are a key tool for preventing lending discrimination. Despite research showing that racial minorities, women and some rural residents still face loan discrimination, the new law raised the reporting requirement exemption for lenders from 25 to 500 mortgages and from 100 to 500 home equity loans made per year.

In addition to Sen. Smith, the new bill has been cosponsored by Sens. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)