Negotiating Loans in a Foreign Language – Limited English Proficiency

This is not a new concern about risks involved with negotiating loans in a foreign language but we now have a new name for this concern. We now refer to this area as dealing with Limited English proficiency (LEP”) customers. We know that certain states require that we provide customers with foreign language translations of the loan contract and certain required disclosures when negotiating the loan terms in a foreign language. So what choices do we have to improve our compliance in this area?

  1. Get translated loan documents or disclosures, or
  2. Prohibit your sales staff from negotiating loans in the foreign language.

Neither of these are easy tasks. So how do we proceed?

First, establish your foreign langauge policies and procedures. Next, train your sales staff. And third monitor your practices to see that your company is following its prescribed policy and procedures.

Sounds simple right? Well actually there are many challenges along the way here. Where can you get accurate translations of your loan documents and disclosures? Or how can you ensure that a qualified translator be made available when discussing important loan terms with your LEP customers?

These are the challenges. Solutions are available but require some hard work to get there. Are you up to the challenge?

We expect that industry will start paying more attention to this issue and will consider offering cradle to grave translation of loan disclosures, final closing documents and loan servicing statements and communications in the foreign language.

For more information, see the following websites that have more information on this issue:


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