Financial institutions continually encounter customers whose first language is something other than English. Because of this, the more information and materials available in languages other than English, the better off customers will be. For a while now, the CFPB has encouraged financial institutions to provide information to access to products and services to people who are more comfortable using a language other than English. Institutions are not required to offer information and materials in languages other than English, but in appropriate situations, offering these materials would be advantageous to customers.
However, not all materials and all translations are created equally, and any information and materials that are translated need to be translated accurately. As to which documents to offer in other languages, banks should prioritize those communications that are most beneficial to customers, and for now the safest course of action is to stick to providing government-issued information and materials provided in languages other than English, rather than having institutions obtain translated documents from a non-governmental source, which could unnecessarily increase the bank’s liability.
To help financial institutions better support Spanish-speaking customers, the CFPB has recently made available Spanish translations of the following disclosures:
Regulation B, Appendix C, Model Forms C-1 through C-8, regarding adverse action notices, providing reasons credit was denied or counteroffered, as well as a notice of incompleteness, and the disclosure of right to request specific reasons for credit denial. (12 CFR § 1002.9(a), (b), and (c))
Regulation E, Model Forms 10(a) through 10(f), regarding information to consumers about fees and provisions or reloadable and payroll cards. (12 CFR §§ 1005.15(c) and 1005.18(b)(2), (3), (4), (6), and (7))
These disclosures above add to the growing list of disclosures already provided in Spanish by the CFPB, which include:
Regulation Z, Appendix H, Model Forms H-28(A) through H-28(J), which are sample Loan Estimates and Closing Disclosures. (12 CFR §§ 1026.37 and 1026.38)
Regulation Z, Booklet, “Consumer Handbook on Adjustable Rate Mortgages.” (12 CFR 1026.19(b)(1))
Regulation Z, Brochure, “What you should know about home equity lines of credit.” (12 § CFR 1026.40(e)).
Regulation X, Special Information Booklet, “Your Home Loan Toolkit.” (12 CFR § 1024.6(a))
Regulation X, Appendix MS4, Model Clauses MS-4(A) through MS-4(D), informing delinquent mortgages borrowers about their options via the written early intervention notice. (12 CFR § 1024.39(d)(2))
Regulation F, Appendix B, Model Form B-1, a notice from debt collectors helping consumers identify and verify debts being collected. (12 CFR § 1006.34(b))
Regulation V, Appendix D, Model Forms for Firm Offers of Credit or Insurance, disclosing the duties of users making written firm offers of credit or insurance based on information contained in consumer files. (12 CFR § 1022.54)
Regulation V, Appendix K, Summary of Consumer Rights, explains certain major consumer rights under the FCRA, including the right to obtain a copy of a consumer report, the frequency and circumstances under which a consumer is entitled to receive a free consumer report, the right to dispute information in a consumer’s file, and the right to obtain a credit score. (FCRA § 605A(i)(5))
Regulation V, Appendix I, Summary of Consumer Identity Theft Rights, explains the rights consumers have under the FCRA when they seek to remedy the effects of fraud or identity theft, including the right to place a fraud alert and block certain information from appearing in a consumer report. (15 U.S.C. 1681g(d)(2))