A new loan-level dataset that provides insights into borrowers’ experiences in getting residential mortgages was released Thursday for public use by the consumer financial protection bureau and the federal regulator of the housing government-sponsored enterprises.
The dataset was collected through the National Survey of Mortgage Originations (NSMO), a component of the National Mortgage Database (NMDB®), the first comprehensive repository of detailed mortgage loan information. The survey was conducted jointly by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, formerly known as CFPB) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks.
The database, designed to support policymaking and research efforts and to help regulators better understand emerging mortgage and housing market trends, was launched in 2012 to fulfill requirements of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank). HERA mandated that FHFA conduct a monthly mortgage survey of all residential mortgages, including those not eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Dodd-Frank mandated that the BCFP monitor the primary mortgage market, in part through the use of the survey data.
In each quarter since 2014, CFPB and FHFA sent surveys to borrowers who had recently obtained mortgages to gather feedback on their experiences during the process of getting a mortgage, their perception of the mortgage market, and their future expectations. The agencies have been compiling the NSMO survey data (access the public use file here), and the dataset released Thursday is the first public release.
Information on FHFA’s NSMO landing page says the survey draws its sample from newly originated mortgages that are part of the NMDB, which is a 1-in-20 sample of closed-end, first-lien residential mortgages newly reported to one of the three national credit bureaus. Beginning with mortgages originated in 2013, a simple random sample of about 6,000 mortgages per quarter is drawn for NSMO from loans newly added to the NMDB.
The file released Thursday is reportedly based on the first 15 quarterly waves of the survey. It contains data for 24,847 sample mortgages originated from 2013 through 2016 based on more than 6,000 returned surveys per year, the web page notes. The agency says that on average, each survey record in the file represents 1,114 new mortgages originated during this period.
“The NSMO data should be very helpful to policymakers, the mortgage industry and researchers in understanding consumer behavior and borrowers’ experiences obtaining a mortgage,” said FHFA Deputy Director Sandra Thompson. “The goal of the survey is to obtain information to help improve lending practices and the mortgage process for future borrowers.”
“These data will allow greater transparency, accountability, and effectiveness around borrowers’ mortgage experiences. This is yet another example of greater cooperation within the federal family on behalf of smarter policy for the American people,” said BCFP Acting Director John (“Mick”) Mulvaney.