Garcia Introduces Mortgage Bill to Fight Against ‘Language Barriers’

Garcia Introduces Mortgage Bill to Fight Against ‘Language Barriers’

Joshua Smith
Joshua Smith
May 9, 2024

Recently, Texas Representative Sylvia Garcia (D) introduced the Improved Language Access in Mortgage Servicing Act. The new legislation would require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to translate mortgage documents from English to the twelve most common languages.

“Homeownership is key to attaining the American dream for most first-generation families, immigrants, and underrepresented minorities across our nation,” said Rep. Garcia.

“From firsthand experience, I've seen the uphill battles language barriers create for residents across my district, Texas, and the country. Ensuring fair and equal access to home buying for everyone, regardless of their primary language, must be a priority. This bill is a massive step towards a more equitable country where all residents can thrive.”

Garcia was joined on the bill by her co-sponsor, California Senator Laphonza Butler (D).

“Homeownership serves as a critical milestone for many first-generation Americans and underrepresented communities. But language barriers create roadblocks and hold people back from buying a home,” said Sen. Butler. “The Improving Language Access in Mortgage Servicing Act aims to make homeownership more accessible so that no one is kept from owning their own home.”

The Improving Language Access in Mortgage Servicing Act could have major benefits for new homeowners. According to Garcia’s statement, the bill would amend “the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (RESPA) to establish language access requirements for creditors and servicers to better serve borrowers with limited English proficiency.”

Furthermore, the bill would require “relevant federal agencies to establish and maintain a language resources website for mortgage originators and servicers and improve existing websites that include information for consumers about language services provided by housing counseling agencies.”

Lastly, the act would make sure servicing companies “provide oral translation services when necessary for servicing a borrower’s loan, for LEP borrowers who speak one of the top 8 languages (and the top 12 after 3 years).”

Garcia has been heavily focused on making sure necessary services are accessible to all people. The representative recently released a statement celebrating President Joe Biden expanding access to affordable healthcare for DACA recipients. The congresswoman expressed hope for the new measure, claiming that it contributed “to building healthier and more vibrant communities.”

“I have been fighting for our Dreamers since before I came to Congress, and I commend the Biden Administration for taking this critical step in expanding access to the Affordable Care Act to include DACA recipients. Throughout the COVID pandemic, we saw our Dreamers serve on the front lines in hospitals, clinics, and beyond. Illness does not discriminate on the basis of immigration status, and today’s rule change will save lives,” said Garcia.

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Joshua Smith

Joshua Smith

Joshua Smith is a writer and recent graduate, majoring in English.

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