A coalition of civil rights groups is pushing for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to enhance protections for mortgage services to potential homeowners who struggle with the English language.

In their latest Mortgage Banking Update, attorneys at Ballard Spahr responded to the news and said that if the Americans for Financial Reform get their way, help will be needed from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, HUD, and the federal banking agencies in order to make these proposals work.

“As we have previously observed, the expectations of the CFPB and other regulators for serving limited English proficiency (LEP) customers present numerous challenges for financial institutions, including UDAAP and fair lending risks, and regulators have not yet provided financial institutions with guidance about how to serve LEP consumers without taking such risks,” writes attorney John Culhane. “We were therefore glad to see that AFR’s recommendations include the CFPB’s provision of affirmative written guidance/regulations.”

The AFR recommends the CFPB enhance mortgage protections to homebuyers with LEP by “requiring servicers to provide both free, contemporaneous oral interpretation services for homeowners who request it and key documents in the borrower’s preferred language.”

The AFR is also requesting that the CFPB add HMDA data fields that include the preferred language spoken by the loan applicant.