Updated URLA: Better for Lenders and Borrowers
On September 26, 2017, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) released the implementation timeline for the redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA). The industry may begin using the redesigned URLA starting July 1, 2019. The GSEs will require the use of the redesigned URLA for all new loan applications in February 2020.
The GSEs not only redesigned the URLA (in use for more than 20 years) but also developed a corresponding Uniform Loan Application Dataset (ULAD) to be used for electronic delivery of the new form between systems. The GSEs also announced new automated underwriting system (AUS) specifications that incorporate the changes to the loan application based on the MISMO 3.4 specifications, but will continue to be unique individually for Desktop Underwriter and Loan Product Advisor. The URLA document supports changes in mortgage industry credit, underwriting, eligibility policies, and regulatory requirements. The redesigned URLA, introduced in August 2016, was updated to more easily and accurately capture loan application information that is relevant and useful to the industry throughout the loan origination process. The redesigned layout provides flexibility and supports current and evolving practices for the collection of loan information.
- Redesigned format supports accurate data collection and better efficiency
- Supports collection of loan application details that are relevant and useful in making an underwriting decision
- Spanish translation of the printed URLA was created to help people understand the application. However, the English URLA is the legal application, so applicants must sign the English URLA—the only application that will be used to underwrite loans
- Greater efficiency, transparency and certainty. The loan application process doesn’t change for the lender or borrower
- New and updated fields (e.g., new borrower demographic information required by HMDA starting January 1, 2018) reflect changes in policy and underwriting standards. Outdated fields not relevant to the qualification process (e.g., automobile make and model) have been removed
- An easier, more consumer-friendly loan application experience. Less jargon, more plain language, and clearer instructions increase clarity and understanding. The interactive version of the redesigned URLA won a 2017 ClearMark Award of Distinction from the Center for Plain Language. The ClearMark award recognizes the best plain language communication written for consumers
- Cleaner look and feel, with more white space and easier navigation. Same look and feel as the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure and is also dynamic in nature regarding addition and deletion of sections based on loan scenarios.
- Data consistency will improve data quality throughout the mortgage process. Each data field is mapped to MISMO® version 3.4, which is documented in the ULAD Mapping Document
What to Do Now
Identify any data on the new URLA that you don’t currently collect. Start planning to collect that data.
Read and carefully review all correspondence sent from FICS’ Loan Producer® team so that your company is informed of upcoming changes to the system and prepared to utilize the new redesigned URLA as soon as it is available.
Although February 2020 seems a long time away, the date for required adoption of the new URLA will be here before we know it. Using the redesigned loan application will make it easier to collect the data required by HMDA, so you’ll want to be ready to roll by July 2019. Stay tuned to FICS® for more information.