U.S. regulators building national mortgage database

WASHINGTON Thu Nov 1, 2012 5:04pm EDT

WASHINGTON Nov 1 (Reuters) - U.S. regulators have begun developing a national database of mortgage loan information in order to better keep track of trends in the housing market.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Housing Finance Agency said the data will help regulators understand how consumers are making borrowing decisions, spot potential risks from new loan products, and monitor the health of mortgage markets and consumers.

"In order to understand what is going on in the mortgage marketplace and develop appropriate consumer protections, we must have the best facts and data," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement on Thursday.

The FHFA supervises the mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law created the consumer agency and charged it with overseeing mortgages and other consumer financial products.

In the wake of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, when poor lending standards and other problems in the mortgage market led to millions of foreclosures, regulators have attempted to boost standards for mortgage lenders and to improve market transparency.

While many agencies and private groups collect information about home loans, regulators do not have access to comprehensive data about mortgage lending across the country, the agencies said.

The new mortgage database will go as far back as 1998 and will show borrowers' credit profiles, mortgage products and terms, and information about properties and loan payments.

Early versions of the database are expected to be finished in 2013, and the data will be updated each month.

The database will not contain information that could be used to identify individual borrowers, the regulators said. It will not be accessible to the public right away, but some data may eventually be released to researchers or the public once the database is complete.

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