Buyers Promised Simplified Mortgage Paperwork

The government is looking into ways to make the process of obtaining a mortgage simpler and easier for consumers to understand. The focus right now is on the disclosure form used by lenders.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

If you've ever taken out a home loan, you know how perplexing and voluminous the paperwork can be. The federal government's new consumer financial watchdog hopes to help.

NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY: Elizabeth Warren says in order to shop for the best home loan, consumers need better information. In her first public action since being tapped by President Obama last week to set up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Warren assembled a group of lenders and consumer advocates to help cut through the fine print. They were specifically looking to combine two mortgage forms now required by the government. But Warren's goal is broader than that.

Ms. ELIZABETH WARREN (Assistant to the President): It's about what information consumers need, and when they need it, to make the best possible financial decisions. And when we stay focused on that, I think we get to a place that works for American families, that works for the lending industry, and ultimately that works for the American economy.

HORSLEY: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says easy to understand information can be a powerful tool to help consumers borrow and save wisely. He hopes to come up with a simplified mortgage form well before a two-year deadline.

Scott Horsley, NPR News, Washington.

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