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C-Suite Review

C-Suite Financial Services Review: Breaking down (language) barriers: A practical approach to LEP borrowers

Buckley C-Suite Financial Services Review

Susanna K. Sedrak

In roughly 5.3 million households in the United States, the head of the house doesn’t speak English as the primary language or has limited ability to understand it. But like most individuals seeking full participation in the U.S. economy, those with limited English proficiency need access to credit; the American dream of homeownership, after all, is hardly limited to English speakers.

While lenders are increasingly eager to meet the growing demand for their products by limited English proficiency (LEP) borrowers, a lack of clear legal and regulatory guideposts has stymied many of their efforts. Indeed, the requirements and expectations for delivery of products and services to LEP borrowers remain enigmatic.

There are, however, ways for lenders and servicers to approach LEP access issues. This article offers a practical approach to creating a LEP program that meets the differing needs of institutions and the consumers they serve.

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