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From AEAStat staff:
 
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) seeks public comments concerning the National Survey of Mortgage Originations (NSMO). FHFA has submitted the information collection to OMB for review and approval of a three-year extension. Comments are due by May 4, 2020 and may concern any aspect of the NSMO, including survey instrument design, collection and analytic methodologies, and public use file (https://www.fhfa.gov/nsmodata).
 
Federal Register notice: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/03/2020-07033/proposed-collection-comment-request
 
The NSMO is a recurring quarterly survey of individuals who have recently obtained a loan secured by a first mortgage on single-family residential property. The survey questionnaire is sent to a representative sample of approximately 6,000 recent mortgage borrowers each calendar quarter and consists of 96 multiple choice and short answer questions designed to obtain information about borrowers' experiences in choosing and in taking out a mortgage. A copy of the survey questionnaire sent out in the first quarter of 2020 appears at the end of the Federal Register notice.
 
The NSMO is a component of the “National Mortgage Database” (NMDB) Program which is a joint effort of FHFA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The NMDB Program is designed to satisfy the Congressionally-mandated requirements of section 1324(c) of the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act. Section 1324(c) requires that FHFA conduct a monthly survey to collect data on the characteristics of individual prime and subprime mortgages, and on the borrowers and properties associated with those mortgages, in order to enable it to prepare a detailed annual report on the mortgage market activities of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) for review by the appropriate Congressional oversight committees. Section 1324(c) also authorizes and requires FHFA to compile a database of otherwise unavailable residential mortgage market information and to make that information available to the public in a timely fashion.
 
FHFA and CFPB jointly established the NMDB Program in 2012. The Program is designed to provide comprehensive information about the U.S. mortgage market and has three primary components: (1) The NMDB; (2) the NSMO; and (3) the American Survey of Mortgage Borrowers (ASMB).
 
While the ASMB focuses on borrowers' experience with maintaining existing mortgages, the NSMO solicits information on newly-originated mortgages and the borrowers' experiences with the mortgage origination process. It was developed to complement the NMDB by providing critical and timely information—not available from existing sources—on the range of nontraditional and subprime mortgage products being offered, the methods by which these mortgages are being marketed, and the characteristics of borrowers for these types of loans. In particular, the survey questionnaire is designed to elicit directly from mortgage borrowers information on the characteristics of the borrowers and on their experiences in finding and obtaining a mortgage loan, including: Their mortgage shopping behavior; their mortgage closing experiences; their expectations regarding house price appreciation; and critical financial and other life events affecting their households, such as unemployment, large medical expenses, or divorce. The survey questions do not focus on the terms of the borrowers' mortgage loans because these fields are available in the Experian data. However, the NSMO collects a limited amount of information on each respondent's mortgage to verify that the Experian records and survey responses pertain to the same mortgage.

Each wave of the NSMO is sent to the primary borrowers on about 6,000 mortgage loans, which are drawn from a simple random sample of the 80,000 to 100,000 newly originated mortgage loans that are added to the National Mortgage Database from the Experian files each quarter (at present, this represents an approximately 1-in-15 sample of loans added to the National Mortgage Database and an approximately 1-in-300 sample of all mortgage loan originations). By contract with FHFA, the conduct of the NSMO is administered through Experian, which has subcontracted the survey administration through a competitive process to Westat, a nationally-recognized survey vendor.
 
The NSMO is especially critical in ensuring that the NMDB contains uniquely comprehensive information on the range of nontraditional and subprime mortgage products being offered, the methods by which these mortgages are being marketed and the characteristics—and particularly the creditworthiness—of borrowers for these types of loans. Datasets collected through the NSMO for public use are available online. The information provides a resource for research and analysis by federal agencies, by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and by academics and other interested parties outside of the government.  

The NSMO public use file is available at https://www.fhfa.gov/nsmodata  It is based on the first 21 quarterly waves of the survey, containing 29,962 sample mortgages originated from 2013 through 2017.  The NSMO public use file was updated on February 20, 2020.  The original file was published on November 8, 2018, containing mortgages originated from 2013 through 2016.

More detail is available in the FHFA submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202003-2590-007. Click on View Supporting Statement and Other Documents
 
For AEA members wishing to provide comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806  AEA staff support is available at areamer@gwu.edu and 202-510-3681.

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