Housing Market

CFPB releases tool to help consumers find housing counselors

cfpbThe CFPB released a tool last week to help consumers find housing counselors to answer questions and address concerns, ahead of the January effective date for several of the agency’s mortgage rules.

Housing counselors can provide advice on renting, defaults, foreclosure, credit issues and buying a home at little to no cost to consumers.

The tool shows consumers their closest options, provides contact information for counselors approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, lists offered languages and displays the services offered by each counseling agency.

“Consumers need and deserve the best guidance when making the decision to purchase a home,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said. “Buying a home may easily be the largest investment a consumer makes, and we want to make it easier for them to find a housing counselor that is a good fit for them.”

The CFPB issued a final rule implementing a Dodd-Frank requirement that lenders provide consumers with a list of housing counselors within a certain amount of type after applying for a mortgage.

Lenders can meet the requirement by using the CFPB’s housing counseling lists or by generating their own lists using data from HUD.

In guidance accompanying the rule, the CFPB told lenders that may be unable to provide the lists ahead of the Jan. 10 effective date that they should consider directing borrowers to the agency’s new tool.

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