What’s the new ‘geocoding tool’ that the CFPB mentioned in its mortgage rule update?

  • Financial institutions have to report census tract data so they can ensure they're serving communities equally, among other reasons.
  • A proposed CFPB website tool would help lenders correctly identify and report census tracts -- especially in rural areas, where geocoding is thought to be more challenging.

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Inman Connect San Francisco, Jul 16-20, 2018

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a rather dry 150-page amendment proposal for Regulation C of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). However, buried within the proposal were some interesting clues surrounding a new geocoding tool that the CFPB is providing to help lenders identify a property's census tract. What's a census tract? Census tracts are statistical subdivisions within a county that are established (and shifted before each decennial, or "10-year," census) by the U.S. Census Bureau to "provide a stable set of geographic units for the presentation of statistical data." A census tract usually contains a population of between 1,200 and 8,000 people; the Census Bureau says that the "optimum size" is 4,000. The bureau adds that the sizes of census tracts can vary depending on the density of population, and that boundaries "generally follow visible and identifiable features." In general, the bureau leaves census tract boundaries a...