The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) was enacted by Congress in 1975 and is implemented by Regulation C (12 CFR Part 1003). The period of 1988 through 1992 saw substantial changes to HMDA. Especially significant were the amendments to HMDA resulting from the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA). Coverage was expanded in the FIRREA amendments to include many independent nondepository mortgage lenders, in addition to the previously covered banks, savings associations, and credit unions. Coverage of independent mortgage lenders was further expanded effective Jan. 1, 1993, with the implementation of amendments contained in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA). For a more detailed discussion of the history of HMDA, see the .
HMDA grew out of public concern over credit shortages in certain urban neighborhoods. The Congress believed that some financial institutions had contributed to the decline of some geographic areas by their failure to provide adequate home financing to qualified applicants on reasonable terms and conditions. Thus, one purpose of HMDA and Regulation C is to provide the public with information that will help show whether financial institutions are serving the housing credit needs of the neighborhoods and communities in which they are located. A second purpose is to aid public officials in targeting public investments from the private sector to areas where they are needed. Finally, the FIRREA amendments of 1989 require the collection and disclosure of data about applicant and borrower characteristics to assist in identifying possible discriminatory lending patterns and enforcing antidiscrimination statutes.
As the name implies, HMDA is a disclosure law that relies upon public scrutiny for its effectiveness. It does not prohibit any specific activity of lenders, and it does not establish a quota system of mortgage loans to be made in any Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) or other geographic area.