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Coronavirus, HMDA, and Doing the Next Right Thing

3 min read
Mar 18, 2020

If talk around the now-virtual water cooler is any indication, a lot of folks spent Sunday with one delightful distraction amid worries of pandemic: Frozen II.

Disney released the highest-grossing animated film of all time onto its wildly popular streaming platform, Disney+, three months ahead of schedule.  It is a goodwill gesture (and smart business move) to entertain the self-quarantined struggling to find a new normal.

An informal poll of co-workers found that whether they have young children, older children, or no children, everyone was happy to spend a few hours on their couch watching Elsa and Anna.

But Frozen II is more than a pleasant diversion. It’s a movie about overcoming uncertainty and learning to deal with change. It suggests a way forward in times of overwhelming worry and anxiety that everyone can benefit from.

In the words of Anna: Just do the next right thing.

(Spoilers ahead.)

At one point in the movie, Anna is overcome by loss. The normally plucky heroine is gutted by the loss of her sister, Elsa, and their snowman sidekick, Olaf. She feels alone, wondering if there is “a day beyond this night.” She’s ready to give up.

But then Anna digs deep to find her last bit of determination.  She realizes the only thing she can do is focus on the moment and “do the next right thing.”

“Just do the next right thing
Take a step, step again
It is all that I can to do
The next right thing
I won't look too far ahead
It's too much for me to take
But break it down to this next breath, this next step
This next choice is one that I can make”

Doing the Next Right Thing

As we struggle with disruption and uncertainty, as the coronavirus upends the routines of our lives, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and unsure. You may be trying to balance working from home with educating and entertaining kids forced home by shuttered schools. You may be struggling with the stir craziness of self-quarantine. You might be worried about loved ones—or you might be worried about your own health.

But, like Anna, you can make a choice. You don’t need a big master plan, just a plan for this moment. Focus on the task immediately before you. Break it into small pieces and then do it. When you’re done, break off the next small piece and move forward.

Maybe the next right thing for you is to read non-coronavirus industry news. For example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently added a new question to its Home Mortgage Disclosure Act FAQ.

In the release, Question 7 asks:If a natural person applicant submits a mail, internet, or telephone application under Regulation C but does not provide race, ethnicity, or sex information, what should the financial institution report regarding whether this information was collected on the basis of visual observation or surname?”

In short, the CFPB says that FIs should “report either that the information was not collected on the basis of visual observation or surname (code 2) or that the requirement to report this data field is not applicable (code 3).”

Maybe HMDA FAQs are not for you! Why not use this time for a few moments of professional development? Listen to a webinar like Fair or Foul: Understanding Fair Lending Compliance Risk or The Reality of Redlining Risk. Sometimes a passive activity like listening can help you gather your thoughts.

Maybe it’s time you put off creating or updating your FI’s Fair Lending risk assessment. As mortgage application volume skyrockets thanks to record-low interest rates, it’s time to understand the potential Fair Lending risk to your organization. Overwhelmed loan officers are more likely to make mistakes, and you want to uncover and mitigate any issues early on to avoid expensive fines down the road—especially as cutting costs becomes a greater operational priority.

As always, count on the Ncontracts team to help with real expertise, understanding, and guidance. We’re here to help you do the next right thing.   

Related: What is Business Continuity Management?


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