Published: March 2021

Expanding access to homeownership for consumers with limited English proficiency

One in five U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home, yet the financial services market still caters primarily to fluent English speakers. In a letter to Congress, coalition members wrote in support of the LEP Data Acquisition in Mortgage Lending Act and the bill to promote language access in mortgage servicing. LEP borrowers face many challenges that impede their full participation in the consumer marketplace, including, specifically, their ability to obtain and preserve ownership of a home. Together, these bills will make important strides in improving access to the mortgage market and awareness of the availability of assistance for homeowners who are struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments, which is especially critical during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

There are approximately 26 million people in the U.S. who speak limited English—16 million of them speak Spanish as their first language. While language barriers may not always hinder limited English proficient (LEP) consumers as they carry out the routine tasks of daily life, a lack of English fluency can make navigating the financial services marketplace difficult and even risky. Housing, civil rights and consumer activists wrote to Congress in support of two bills that promote language access in mortgage servicing. Tracking and transferring the language preference of LEP borrowers and enhancing the availability and use of services and resources in their preferred languages will significantly improve market access for LEP borrowers at all stages of a mortgage loan.

Lead Organization

Americans for Financial Reform (AFR)

Other Organizations

AFR Language Access Task Force | Americans for Financial Reform | California Reinvestment Coalition | Center for Responsible Lending | Consumer Federation of America | Consumer Action | Empire Justice Center | Faith in Action | Integrated Community Solutions, Inc. | National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders | National Association of Consumer Advocates | National CAPACD | National Community Stabilization Trust | National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients) | National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) | National Fair Housing Alliance | National Housing Law Project | National Housing Resource Center | National Urban League | New Jersey Citizen Action | Philadelphia Unemployment | Project Prosperity Now | UnidosUS | Woodstock Institute

More Information

Click here to read the letter in full.
For more information, please visit AFR.

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