In October, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced that they were going add a question about language preference to the redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA). Beginning in July of 2019, all mortgage applications will be required to ask the applicant what is their preferred language. Consumer groups and the Asian Real Estate Association of America supported this change. Other trade groups such as the Mortgage Bankers Association opposed the change. NAHREP chose to remain neutral. Surveys show that about 5% of homebuyers exclusively speak a language other than English. These people deserve to know what they are signing up for; however, NAHREP was concerned about the lack of clarity regarding what obligations this question might have on lenders. Will they be required to provide in-language service from application through closing, and perhaps beyond? Will the loan documents in English be binding to a person who has stated a preference for another language? Absent any clear guidance from regulators and state and federal lawmakers, these questions might have to be answered in court. My concern is that absent said clarity, lenders may choose to avoid doing loans for people who are not English proficient. Some may say this is a good thing. I don’t agree. There is a credible argument that this problem has been out there for decades and something bold needed to be done. Perhaps FHFA’s decision to add the language question will force the industry and lawmakers to finally provide clarity and direction to lenders. I hope so, but in an era where terms like diversity and inclusion are being purged from our national nomenclature, I have my doubts.