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FHFA Announces Mandatory Use of SCIF

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on May 3rd, 2022, announced that new loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) will require lenders to use the Supplemental Consumer Information Form (SCIF) with application dates on or after March 1, 2023. According to the announcement, the purpose of the SCIF is to help industry professionals better understand and serve borrowers’ needs throughout the home buying process.

Formerly called the Voluntary Consumer Information Form (VCIF), the updated document will facilitate the collection of borrower information with standardized questions about whether they’ve received home ownership education, housing counseling, and most importantly, their language preference. The changes will require lenders to present the SCIF questions to borrowers and report any data collected from the SCIF to the GSEs purchasing the loan. Response by borrowers on the SCIF will remain voluntary.

CFPB Director Rohit Chopra expressed his support, remarking that the CFPB is eager to see advances in broader language access to serve borrowers. It is expected that the FHFA and CFPB will continue to expand their methods to respond to the nation’s growing diversity.

Once a borrower has indicated a preference to speak a language other than English, lenders need to evaluate how they’ll provide a customer experience that meets those expectations while remaining compliant with state and federal requirements for conducting business in another language.

The SCIF will be available via Mortgage Translations later in July of 2022. Mortgage Translations was created by FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, and holds a collection of translated documents and tools to assist lenders, servicers, housing counselors, and others in helping mortgage borrowers who have limited English proficiency (LEP). Part of FHFA’s Language Access Plan, Mortgage Translations has documents and resources available in English, Spanish, traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Tagalog.

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