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Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

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Federal Housing Finance Board.




In accordance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Federal Housing Finance Board (Finance Board) hereby gives notice that it has submitted the information collection entitled “Monthly Survey of Rates and Terms on Conventional, 1-Family, Nonfarm Loans,” commonly known as the Monthly Interest Rate Survey or MIRS, to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval of a three-year extension of the OMB control number, which is due to expire on April 30, 2001.


Interested persons may submit comments on or before May 29, 2001.


Submit comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Housing Finance Board, Washington, DC 20503. Address requests for copies of the information collection and supporting documentation to Elaine L. Baker, Secretary to the Board, 202/408-2837,, Federal Housing Finance Board, 1777 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006.

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Timothy D. Forsberg, Financial Analyst, Market Research and Systems Analysis Division, Office of Policy, Research and Analysis, 202/408-2968,, Federal Housing Finance Board, 1777 F Street, NW., Washington, DC 20006.

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A. Need For and Use of Information Collection

The Finance Board's predecessor, the former Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB), first provided data concerning a survey of mortgage interest rates in 1963. No statutory or regulatory provision explicitly required the FHLBB to conduct the MIRS although references to the MIRS did appear in several federal and state statutes. Responsibility for conducting the MIRS was transferred to the Finance Board upon dissolution of the FHLBB in 1989. See Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), Pub. L. 101-73, tit. IV, sec. 402(e)(3)-4), 103 Stat. 183, codified at 12 U.S.C. 1437 note, and tit. VII, sec. 731(f)(1) and (f)(2)(B), 103 Stat. 433 (Aug. 9, 1989). In 1993, the Finance Board promulgated a final rule describing the method by which it conducts the MIRS. See 58 FR 19195 (Apr. 13, 1993), codified at 12 CFR 906.3. Since its inception, the MIRS has provided the only consistent source of information on mortgage interest rates Start Printed Page 20992and terms and house prices for areas smaller than the entire country.

Statutory references to the MIRS include the following:

  • Pursuant to their respective organic statutes, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac use the MIRS results as the basis for the annual adjustments to the maximum dollar limits for their purchase of conventional mortgages. See 12 U.S.C. 1454(a)(2) and 1717(b)(2). The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac limits were first tied to the MIRS by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1980. See Pub. L. 96-399, tit. III, sec. 313(a)-(b), 94 Stat. 1644-1645 (Oct. 8, 1980). At that time, the nearly identical statutes required Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to base the dollar limit adjustments on “the national average one-family house price in the monthly survey of all major lenders conducted by the [FHLBB].” See 12 U.S.C. 1454(a)(2) and 1717(b)(2) (1989). When Congress abolished the FHLBB in 1989, it replaced the reference to the FHLBB in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac statutes with a reference to the Finance Board. See FIRREA, tit. VII, sec. 731(f)(1) and (f)(2)(B), 103 Stat. 433.
  • Also in 1989, Congress required the Chairperson of the Finance Board to take necessary actions to ensure that indices used to calculate the interest rate on adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) remain available. See FIRREA, tit. IV, sec. 402(e)(3)-(4), 103 Stat. 183, codified at 12 U.S.C. 1437 note. At least one ARM index, known as the National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders, is derived from the MIRS data. The statute permits the Finance Board to substitute a substantially similar ARM index after notice and comment only if the new ARM index is based upon data substantially similar to that of the original ARM index and substitution of the new ARM index will result in an interest rate substantially similar to the rate in effect at the time the new ARM index replaces the existing ARM index. See 12 U.S.C. 1437 note.
  • Congress indirectly connected the high cost area limits for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the MIRS in 1994 when it statutorily linked these FHA insurance limits to the purchase price limitations for Fannie Mae. See Pub. L. 103-327, 108 Stat. 2314 (Sept. 28, 1994), codified at 12 U.S.C. 1709(b)(2)(A)(ii).
  • The Internal Revenue Service uses the MIRS data in establishing “safe-harbor” limitations for mortgages purchased with the proceeds of mortgage revenue bond issues. See 26 CFR 6a.103A-2(f)(5).
  • Statutes in several states and U.S. territories, including California, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Wisconsin and the Virgin Islands, refer to, or rely upon, the MIRS. See, e.g., Cal. Rev. & Tax Code 439.2 (value of owner-occupied single family dwellings for tax purposes); Cal. Civ. Code 1916.7 and 1916.8 (mortgage rates); Mich. Comp. Laws 445.1621(d) (mortgage index rates); Minn. Stat. 92.06 (payments for state land sales); N.J. Rev. Stat. 31:1-1 (interest rates); Wis. Stat. 138.056 (variable loan rates); V.I. Code Ann. tit. 11, sec. 951 (legal rate of interest).

The Finance Board uses the information collection to produce the MIRS and for general statistical purposes and program evaluation. Economic policy makers use the MIRS data to determine trends in the mortgage markets, including interest rates, down payments, terms to maturity, terms on ARMs and initial fees and charges on mortgage loans. Other federal banking agencies use the MIRS results for research purposes. Information concerning the MIRS is published regularly on the Finance Board's website (​mirs) and in press releases, in the popular trade press, and in publications of other federal agencies.

The likely respondents include a sample of 307 savings associations, mortgage companies, commercial banks and savings banks. The information collection requires each respondent to complete FHFB Form 10-91 on a monthly basis.

The OMB number for the information collection is 3069-0001. The OMB clearance for the information collection expires on April 30, 2001.

B. Burden Estimate

The Finance Board estimates the total annual average number of respondents at 307, with 12 responses per respondent. The estimate for the average hours per response is 1.0 hour. The estimate for the total annual hour burden is 3,684 hours (307 respondents × 12 responses/respondent × approximately 1.0 hour).

C. Comment Request

In accordance with the requirements of 5 CFR 1320.8(d), the Finance Board published a request for public comments regarding this information collection in the Federal Register on January 10, 2001. See 66 FR 1989 (Jan. 10, 2001). The 60-day comment period closed on March 12, 2001. The Finance Board received one public comment encouraging collection of the data in order to continue publication of the index. Written comments are requested on: (1) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of Finance Board functions, including whether the information has practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the Finance Board's estimates of the burdens of the collection of information; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments may be submitted to OMB in writing at the address listed above.

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By the Federal Housing Finance Board.

Dated: April 19, 2001.

James L. Bothwell,

Managing Director.

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[FR Doc. 01-10406 Filed 4-25-01; 8:45 am]