New federal database will track Americans’ credit scores, financial history

(Source: iStock)
(Source: iStock)
(Source: iStock)

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has given notice of its intent to database a large number of very personal data points on every American who possesses a mortgage — which may include as many as 227 million Americans.   These points include things like financial histories, credit card balances, credit scores, personal demographics, lists of assets and property, family information, and more.

Assembled with the help of the the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the database’s stated purpose is for research and modeling.  The agencies have been collecting data for modeling for years, but the addition of many new pieces of personally identifiable information is a reversal of previously stated policy.

The database will include very specific and personal information on the borrowers and co-borrowers.  According to the Federal Register Notice on April 16, 2014, the database includes:

  • Individual’s name, address, and phone number;
  • Individual’s Social Security Number;
  • Individual’s gender, race, ethnicity, and religion;
  • Individual’s marital status;
  • Individual’s household composition (number and ages of males, females, children);
  • Individual’s household income;
  • Individual’s credit score;
  • Individual’s education records;
  • Individual’s military status/records;
  • Individual’s employment status/records;
  • Individual’s bank account numbers;
  • List of individual’s “financial events in the last few years”;
  • List of individual’s “life events in the last few years”;
  • List of individual’s other assets/wealth;
  • Individual’s current mortgage balance;
  • Individual’s current monthly mortgage payment;
  • Individual’s payment delinquency records;
  • Individual’s bankruptcy records;
  • Individual’s credit card numbers;
  • Individual’s credit card balances;
  • Individual’s credit card charge limit and the highest balance charged;
  • Individual’s minimum payments due on all loans;
  • Attributes of the property (square footage, number of rooms, lot size…);
  • Sale price and down payment of the property;
  • Mortgage information (dates, interest rate, amount, loan servicer…);

As one could imagine, a trove of information like this would be an identity thief’s paradise.  As Rep. Randy Neugebauer said to the Washington Examiner, “If someone were to breach that system, they could very easily steal somebody’s identity.”

Like so many parts of the federal government, the National Mortgage Database was never authorized by Congress and was certainly not authorized by the constitution.

According to the notice, the system went online May 27, 2014.


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Accountability Check

Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)
Email:  (Include “2014-N-03” in the subject line of the message.)

Forrest Pafenberg, Program Manager, National Mortgage Database Project
Email: or
Phone:  (202) 649-3129

Stacy Easter, Privacy Act Officer
Phone:  (202) 649-3803

David A. Lee, Senior Agency Official for Privacy
Phone: (202) 649-3803

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