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On June 25, 2009, the Community Development Studies and Education Department and the Payment Cards Center hosted a conference, "Understanding the Housing and Mortgage Markets: What Data Do We Have? What Data Do We Need?" Attendees from the conference included Federal Reserve System employees and representatives from government, academia, and nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
While the topic of mortgages has not typically been a research area for the Payment Cards Center, it would be a mistake to ignore the linkages between the mortgage crisis and other consumer credit markets. With that link in mind, we were happy to assist the Bank's Community Development Studies and Education Department in organizing this event.* In a recent interview, Harriet Newburger of the Community Development Studies and Education Department explained the need for such an event: "The lack of readily accessible, standardized data on the mortgage market negatively affected the ability to predict how severe the mortgage crisis and its spillovers would be, and it has also hampered efforts to alleviate the effects of the crisis. Given the depth of the crisis, there hasn't been much time to sit back and consider how to most efficiently use and share the data that we have or to think about what data are needed going forward to lower the likelihood of a future crisis."
Panelists for the session on state and local data are (left to right): Richard P. Howe Jr., Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Mark Kaufman, State of Maryland; Jeff Crump, University of Minnesota; Dan Immergluck, Georgia Institute of Technology; Kathe Newman, Rutgers University; and Claudia Coulton, Case Western Reserve University.
With the center's assistance, Newburger and Dede Myers, vice president of the Community Development Studies and Education Department, and former Community Development Studies and Education staffer Christy Chung Hevener developed a two-session agenda: one session on state and local data needs and another on federal data collection efforts related to the housing and mortgage markets. There was plenty of discussion, and one result was an increased knowledge of researchers' specific data needs. Many of the lessons learned at this event have already contributed to changes in the way the Federal Reserve System uses and shares mortgage-related data for the purposes of risk assessment, foreclosure mitigation, and research.
A conference summary is forthcoming.