Two federal agencies are teaming up to create a national mortgage database they say will help them track emerging mortgage and housing market trends and support policymaking and research.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Two federal agencies are teaming up to create a national mortgage database they say will help them track emerging mortgage and housing market trends and support policymaking and research.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have signed an agreement outlining the terms of the database’s development, maintenance and funding. An early version of the database, which will aggregate data spanning the life of a mortgage loan, is expected to be complete in 2013.

"This partnership between FHFA and CFPB will create a unique resource that benefits the government and public as we seek to answer important questions about how the housing finance market is evolving and changing," said Edward J. DeMarco, FHFA’s acting director, in a statement.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray said the database would be a valuable tool for regulators and researchers.

"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," Cordray said in a statement.

At least two real estate industry players have set their sights on providing government agencies as well as lenders and secondary mortgage market investors with high-quality analytics products based on public records data and real-time multiple listing service data nationwide: National Association of Realtors subsidiary Realtors Property Resource (RPR) and data aggregator CoreLogic’s Partner InfoNet.

Both initiatives depend on the participation of individual MLSs, which number roughly 900 across the country. Despite some success in MLS adoption, RPR has not achieved the national coverage required by big banks and federal agencies who indicated interest in purchasing analytics from RPR, NAR CEO Dale Stinton told Inman News last week. The initiative has subsequently generated very little revenue and has cost NAR nearly $58 million to date.

"The disappointment is far less about the revenue shortfalls, and far more about the fact that this nationally scaled data could have and still can be a tremendous, reliable, real-time source of market information for the big banks and the federal agencies," Stinton said.

"They tell us, in plain terms, that this information could considerably speed up the short-sale/foreclosure pipeline clog that has existed for several years and continues to be among the most frustrating aspects of our members’ daily business lives." 

Ben Graboske, CEO of CoreLogic MarketLinx, has declined to disclose how much revenue the company has generated from Partner InfoNet, but has said most of the initiative’s customers are lenders and government agencies.

"All of the big lenders and government agencies are very interested in this data. It’s hard to size the market … but the demand is absolutely there and the demand is absolutely growing," he told Inman News.

Contract awarded to Experian

Regulators say they’re building their own database in order to track the relative health of mortgage markets and outcomes for consumers; provide insights on consumer decision-making; monitor the volume and performance of mortgage products and identify potential risks; view both first and second-lien mortgages for a given borrower; and understand the impact of consumers’ debt burdens.

The database will not contain personally identifiable information, they said. The database will track a loan from origination through servicing and include the borrower’s financial and credit profile, the mortgage product and terms, the property purchased or refinanced, and the ongoing payment history of the loan.

The agencies will match a nationwide sampling of credit bureau files on borrowers’ mortgages and payment histories with "informational files" from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) database, property valuation models, and other data files, the agencies said. The data will track as far back as 1998.

On Sept. 27, the FHFA awarded Experian Information Solutions an $11.1 million contract to collect and compile consumer credit record files and merge them with other data sources to build the database.

Updated monthly, the database will fulfill an FHFA requirement under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) to conduct a monthly mortgage market survey, the agencies said.

They noted that, although the mortgage market is the single largest market for consumer finance, there is a lack of comprehensive data available on a complete, national scale.

"Multiple federal and state agencies, as well as private vendors, collect and maintain information, but there is no single database that contains all information in one place," the agencies said.

"The creation of the National Mortgage Database will be the first step in a broader strategy to help streamline data for research and policy analysis and to ensure accurate, comprehensive information is more easily accessible for monitoring the market."

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