House introduces ‘abusive’ trigger lead ban bill, MBA announces support

A bipartisan duo of members in the U.S. House of Representatives this week introduced a bill targeting the “abusive” uses of mortgage trigger leads, a companion bill to a previously-introduced bill in the U.S. Senate.

House Resolution (H.R.) 7297, also known as the “Homebuyers Privacy Protection Act,” seeks to “amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to prevent consumer reporting agencies from furnishing consumer reports under certain circumstances, and for other purposes,” according to the bill’s official entry on Congress.gov. It is sponsored by Rep. John Rose (R-Tenn.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.).

Rose made the draft version of the bill available on his congressional website.

“Buying a home is stressful enough for many consumers,” Rep. Rose said in a statement. “The last thing most folks want is to be annoyed incessantly by the constant barrage of emails, text messages, and phone calls after they apply for a mortgage. My bill would put an end to this shady and confusing practice and restore data privacy for homebuyers.”

There is an exploitive element to the way trigger leads work today that needs to be corrected, Torres said.

“Trigger leads exploit consumers’ financial inquiries, turning them into commodities sold without consent. We must empower homebuyers, not bombard them with predatory calls,” he said. “This bipartisan legislation takes a crucial step in safeguarding consumer privacy and choice in the mortgage process.”

On Thursday morning, Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) President and CEO Bob Broeksmit announced the organization’s support of the measure, in concert with the previously-introduced Senate version.

“MBA continues to be a fierce proponent for legislative reforms that stop the abusive use of mortgage trigger leads while preserving their value in appropriately limited circumstances during a real estate transaction,” Broeksmit said in a statement. “This updated House companion bill harmonizes with the MBA-supported trigger leads bill in the Senate – introduced in December 2023 – and furthers the momentum for legislative action on this issue.”

Broeksmit then called for swift reconciliation between the two versions and passage in both the House and the Senate, which would then allow President Biden to sign it into law.

In December, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and co-sponsor Sen. Bill Haggerty (R-Tenn.) introduced a Senate version of a bill targeting abusive trigger leads, but that bill has not yet progressed to a committee deliberation. Both the Senate and House versions have bipartisan support, with both Democratic and Republican co-sponsors.

Earlier that month, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra expressed sympathy for lawmakers’ concerns about abusive trigger leads, but said that his agency’s authority to do something about it was limited without congressional intervention.

“This is something that I think our authority is somewhat limited,” Chopra said in December.