Public gets access to HUD database

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is giving the public access to a Web-based system that shows loan-performance data, providing a resource for communities to identify trouble spots.

For the past year, HUD has used an internal Web-based software application — known as the Neighborhood Watch/Early Warning system — to warn the agency of loans in danger of defaulting.

But now the tool, which shows loan-performance data by types of loans and geographic areas, will be available for community-based, state and local organizations to target specific neighborhoods for housing outreach, counseling and education.

HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo said the information could help community-based organizations reduce default and foreclosure rates in their neighborhoods. "This is another step in our plan to protect consumers and communities from predatory and abusive lending practices," Cuomo said.

Currently, users can perform loan analysis down to the ZIP code level, but HUD plans to make census-tract-level data available in the near future, enabling a community to pinpoint a lending problem down to the address.

The system "is a great resource for community development groups and anybody else who is concerned about housing in our neighborhoods," said Gale Cincotta, executive director of the National Training and Information Center.

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