Compliance Blog

Jun 24, 2020

Banking Non-English-Speaking Members During COVID-19: Translations Now Available


Last year, I blogged about banking members with limited English proficiency (LEP). LEP persons do not speak English as their primary language and have limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English. Undoubtedly, due to COVID-19 and the national emergency many borrowers- English speakers or not- have suffered mortgage-related difficulties. Many credit unions have allowed members to delay their mortgage payments if they had financial hardship tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an effort to help LEP borrowers when discussing coronavirus-related forbearance, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) added new translations to the Mortgage Translations website.  For those less familiar with the site, it is the result of a collaboration between FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which contains resources intended to help lenders, servicers, housing counselors, and others in helping LEP borrowers navigate the mortgage process. 

Site visitors can now select English, Spanish, traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, or Tagalog when retrieving scripts. Director Mark Calabria said in the press release that these newly published scripts “will allow borrowers with limited English proficiency to better understand the mortgage relief options available to them during the pandemic.” Also, the revised Mortgage Assistance Application (MAAp) is available in the same six languages. Other resources available on the website include the Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA), a step-by-step guide to apply for or refinance a mortgage, and a glossary of mortgage terminology.

From time to time, NAFCU receives questions about providing disclosures and information in Spanish to their Spanish speaking members. Credit unions go above and beyond to help their members. Here is a summary of resources available in Spanish from other sources. Credit unions can point their Spanish speaking members to these to help them protect and manage their finances during this difficult time:

The CFPB also has resources in many other languages to help consumer protect their finances during the pandemic.