By the Division of Banks

Background

The Mortgage Review Boards provide an independent review process for any mortgage applicants who believe that they have been turned down for a mortgage on the basis of the location of the property. All mortgage lenders in Massachusetts are required to inform denied mortgage applicants of their right to appeal the denial to the Mortgage Review Boards. These FAQs will help to familiarize you with the Mortgage Review Boards and the appeal process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of loans are eligible for review by the Mortgage Review Board?

The jurisdiction of the Board extends to denied applications for a first mortgage or to refinance existing purchase mortgages on 1 -to- 4 family, owner occupied properties in Massachusetts.

What happens once I file an appeal?

The Commissioner of Banks appoints an employee of the Division of Banks to serve as the Administrative Secretary for the Mortgage Review Boards. When an appeal is received the Administrative Secretary will contact the lender requesting that copies of the entire loan package be forwarded to the Division of Banks. Once the loan package is received, it is presented to the Board at its next scheduled meeting for review. You will be notified by mail of Board's decision.

Who serves on the Mortgage review Boards?

Each Board is made up of seven members appointed by the Commissioner of Banks. Three members are community representatives; three members are employees of mortgage lenders; and one member is a member of the public. At least five of the members of each Board shall either live or work within the region where the property is located.

How many boards are there?

The law provides that there shall be four regional Mortgage Review Boards operating in the Commonwealth. There is the Boston Metropolitan Area Mortgage Review Board which includes the counties of Suffolk, Essex, Middlesex, and Norfolk; the Southeastern Mortgage Review Board which includes the counties of Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket; the Central Massachusetts Mortgage Review Board which includes Worcester County; and the Western Massachusetts Mortgage Review Board which includes the counties of Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire and Berkshire.

What happens during the Review Board Meetings?

The members of the Board will review each residential mortgage loan denial to determine if an applicant was denied on the basis of the location of the property.  Based on the information presented, the Board will vote to either agree with the lender's decision to deny the loan or will vote to recommend that the lender reconsider the loan denial.

Will I have an opportunity to go before the Board when my loan is reviewed?

Neither the applicant nor the lender is present during the Board meeting. However, you can submit written material describing any circumstances or facts related to your application. These written materials will be included in the loan package presented to Board members.  The Mortgage Review Board makes its decision based on the information contained in the lender's loan application file and any other relevant information presented to the Board by you or the lender.

How long does the appeals process take?

In the majority of cases, loans are reviewed by the Board within 45 days of receiving an appeal.

What happens if the board votes to agree with the lender's decision to deny my mortgage application?

This ends the matter at the Review Board Level. However, you have the right to seek judicial review of the Board’s decision pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 30A.  Alternatively, you may bring a civil action under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 183, section 64, as further described below.

What other rights do I have if I still feel that my application was unreasonably denied?

After an appeal to the Board, if you believe that you have been discriminated against on the basis of the location of the property, or on a basis that is arbitrary or unsupported by a reasonable analysis of the lending risks associated with a residential mortgage, you may bring a civil action in the district court or housing court (where applicable) of the county in which the particular lender involved is located, in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 183, section 64.

What rights do I have if I believe that my loan was denied on a discriminatory basis?

If you believe that your loan application was denied on a prohibited basis (i.e. on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ethnic origin, sex, marital status, age, income derived from public assistance, sexual orientation or handicap) you may proceed independently of the Mortgage Review Board by contacting the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

If you have additional questions regarding the Mortgage Review Boards or the appeal process, please contact the Division of Banks at (617) 956-1500.  Outside the Metropolitan Boston area, call 1-800-495-BANK (2265) or write to:

Administrative Secretary
Mortgage Review Boards
Division of Banks
1000 Washington Street, 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02118-6400