Preferred Language Question to be Added to New Uniform Residential Loan Application
October 20, 2017, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced its decision to add a preferred language question to the new Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA). This question will enable borrowers who prefer to communicate in a language other than English to identify that language. It also provides clear disclosures that the mortgage transaction is likely to be conducted in English and that language resources may not be available.
The addition of this question is part of a broader, multiyear effort that FHFA is undertaking with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to improve language access for limited English proficient (LEP) borrowers in the United States. Later this year, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will publish the final redesigned URLA, which also contains updates announced in August 2016. Lenders may begin using the redesigned URLA in July 2019, but use of the redesigned form will not be mandatory for Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac loans until February 2020.
FHFA believes that the long-term goal of improving language access for LEP borrowers is in the interest of all segments of the mortgage market. The broader revision of the URLA is the first significant revision in more than 20 years and provides a good opportunity to begin capturing preferred language information and is an important step toward this goal.
The required text of the new preferred language question is provided below.
Language Preference – Your loan transaction is likely to be conducted in English.
This question requests information to see if communications are available to assist you in your preferred language. Please be aware that communications may NOT be available in your preferred language.
Optional: Mark the language you would prefer, if available:
- I do not wish to respond
Your answer will NOT negatively affect your mortgage application. Your answer does not mean the Lender or Other Loan Participants agree to communicate or provide documents in your preferred language. However, it may let them assist you or direct you to persons who can assist you.
Language assistance and resources may be available through housing counseling agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. To find a housing counseling agency, contact one of the following federal government agencies:
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at (800) 569-4287 or www.hud.gov/counseling.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at (855) 411-2372 or www.consumerfinance.gov/find-a-housing-counselor.