The CFPB on Wednesday issued its final rule modifying the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) regulations, which it says will provide added flexibility for mortgage lenders in the collection of consumer ethnicity and race information.  Currently, the ECOA restricts lenders’ ability to ask consumers about race, religion, nationality or sex except as it relates to the required collection of such information for some mortgage applications, subject to certain exceptions, including Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) reporting. The CFPB’s final rule aims to give lenders more flexibility in using consistent forms to request the information.

In addition to the announcement on ECOA, the CFPB also said it is seeking comment on proposed policy guidance describing the HMDAt data the bureau proposes to make available to the public beginning in 2019. The proposed guidance is aimed at protecting consumers’ privacy and involves excluding the property address and an applicant’s credit score from being made publicly available. It also suggests disclosing an applicant’s age using a range rather than a specific number.