August 12, 2019

Rep. Juan Vargas Blasts Changes to Limit Non-English Speakers’ Ability to Apply for Housing Finance Opportunities

SAN DIEGO, CA (August 12, 2019) – Today, Rep. Juan Vargas issued the following statement in response to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) decision to remove a key language preference question from the redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) which would have helped improve access to credit and the quality of servicing for borrowers whose first language is not English:

“This is an unnecessary and irresponsible change that limits non-English speakers’ ability to understand, secure and maintain housing finance opportunities. For many throughout our nation, English is not their first or second language, yet they are forced to endure this intricate process without language assistance. During the foreclosure crisis, we saw how many borrowers were unable to refinance or modify their home mortgages due to the lack of documentation in their language and other access to assistance in their preferred language.

“The language preference question was a key update to the URLA form that would have helped mitigate language barriers – for both the applicant and lender. We should be focusing on ways to support our minority and non-English speaking communities rather than hinder their pathways to sustainable homeownership. I strongly urge the FHFA to reconsider this futile change and immediately reinstate the question in any future URLA form.”

Vargas represents California’s 51st Congressional District which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, all of Imperial County and California’s entire U.S.-Mexico border.  Vargas was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and is currently serving his fourth term in Congress.  He serves on the House Financial Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee.