Many Consumers Still Not Reading Mortgage Fine Print: DePaul and John Marshall Study

May 6, 2013
eNews Park Forest (IL)  
mortgage lending news

In the first study of its kind, professors from Chicago's DePaul University and John Marshall Law School used visual sensory technology to track the eye movements of mortgage borrowers as they reviewed loan terms. The researchers observed that -- despite the lessons to be learned from the housing bubble -- consumers still are not carefully scrutinizing paperwork, with many failing to note language stating that a loan's interest rate and monthly payment would increase. While a switch from old disclosure forms to new versions that more effectively highlight a loan's adjustable-rate features improved the share of borrowers who read and absorbed this information, 19 percent still failed to do so. Moreover, the research indicated that even with the new disclosures in place, distractions caused 45 percent of the study participants -- more than twice the rate for document reviewers who were not distracted -- to miss clauses identifying the loan as having an adjustable rate. "All it takes is someone asking a question or making a comment not related to the document and the borrower can miss important information," explains Debra Pogrund Stark, a John Marshall professor. Her research partner, DePaul associate psychology professor Jessica Choplin, says the results point to a need for increased targeted counseling to help determine whether a loan is a solid financial decision. "Even when borrowers noticed that the loan contained adjustable-rate features when rating the desirability of the loan, many failed to note how that could lead a borrower to not be able to afford the loan in the future, a point that an unbiased expert would highlight," she notes.
Web Link

Abstract News © Copyright 2008-2013 INFORMATION, INC.
Powered by Information, Inc.

Stay Updated

Join the fight against predatory lending. Enter your e-mail to sign up for breaking news, action alerts, and CRL's original research.

   Please leave this field empty

Help Us End Predatory Lending

Predatory lending destroys family wealth, and preys on our most vulnerable communities. You can help us end abusive lending practices by donating to CRL, or by sharing our work with others.