Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and several of their Democratic colleagues are demanding that trends and disparities in mortgage credit data remain public.
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau recently decided to remove such data from its website.
In a letter to CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, the senators demand that she reverse the decision to remove Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Explorer and the Public Data Platform Application Programming Interface (API) from the CFPB website.
The data “remains the primary tool for citizens, journalists, academics, and public officials to measure trends and disparities in mortgage credit access, including disparities based on a protected class under the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act,” the senators wrote.
“In the years leading up to the financial crisis, predatory lenders targeted borrowers of color for subprime loans that devastated communities and destroyed wealth, the letter states, citing press reports indicating that as recently as last year “lenders were more likely – in some cases more than five times more likely – to deny people of color conventional mortgage financing in 61 of the metro areas analyzed.”
The housing mortgage data decision is only the latest in what consumer advocates say is an ongoing Trump administration transformation of the CFPB from an agency to protect consumers to an agency to protect industry. Critics point to policy reversals that have curbed regulatory oversight of payday lenders, student loans, debt collectors and other areas of abuse of consumer credit, in what amounts to the effective dismantlement of the agency and destruction of its mission.