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Mortgage disclosures are getting better, thanks to you.

On July 21st, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opened its doors for business. That means that we have started taking your credit card complaints, and initiated the supervision process for large banks and their affiliates.

But our work didn’t start last week. In May, we launched Know Before You Owe, a project that combines and re-designs the disclosure forms that assist consumers in understanding mortgage products they’ve applied for, before signing on the dotted line. We put our draft disclosure forms online and asked for public input…and we got it. Since May, we’ve received more than 18,000 comments on different versions of our draft disclosure forms.

In Round 1, you helped us compare front-page designs for a single, simplified disclosure form. In Round 2, we looked for input on the second page of our form. Next week, we’ll be posting revised forms for comment. Before we do, we wanted to share what we learned from your comments, and how they affected what you’ll see when we start Round 3.

  • Clarifying “Cautions.” Many people found that simply stating “Cautions?” with the “Yes/No” answers was confusing and did not effectively communicate the intended message. Accordingly, “Cautions?” will be replaced with different language on the front page in Round 3 and we’ll see if that is more effective.
  • Telling you more vs. keeping it simple. Commenters were divided over the benefits of greater itemization of fees versus a simpler, more concise format on the second page. In Round 3, we will continue to determine the appropriate level of detail of fee disclosures for consumers, fixing some of the problems identified from the feedback and testing.
  • Important dates are, well, important. We heard from many that “Important Dates” should be moved to the front page, near “Date Issued.” In this round, we are going to see if that works better.
  • Setting “Points” aside. We will test putting “Points” on its own subject line for better clarity, as many recommended.

As you can see, we count on your feedback to improve the forms that customers and lenders will use every day. Sign up now, and we’ll e-mail you when it’s time to weigh in again [list no longer available].

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