Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure

What We Did

  • Worked with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on its first major consumer project: developing two disclosures in English and Spanish that consumers could use to understand, shop, and compare.

  • Conducted iterative qualitative testing of the disclosures with 114 consumers and lenders/brokers.

  • Conducted a separate quantitative validation study to assess how the disclosures performed against the current forms.


Key Results

  • Participants used the new forms to make sophisticated tradeoffs between loans and to accurately identify basic loan facts.

  • Integrated disclosures outperformed the current disclosures in testing – many at a statistically significant level.

  • The Loan Estimate won the Center for Plain Language’s 2014 Grand ClearMark Award for the best plain language document in the U.S.

  • The Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure are in use with every financial institution in the U.S. (If you purchase or refinance a home, you will use these forms!)

Financial Privacy Notice

What We Did

  • Worked with Interagency team comprising Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Trade Commission, National Credit Union Administration, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Used mixed methodology of 2 focus groups, 11 preference interviews, and a total of 35 one-on-one cognitive interviews across 5 sites.

  • Developed a disclosure that was clear, conspicuous, technically accurate yet still allowed readers to understand what a financial institution does with their personal information.

Key Results

  • The Model Privacy Notice has been implemented by nearly every financial institution in the U.S. from car finance companies to major credit cards like Visa to major banks like Citibank to credit unions and community banks.

  • Six major principles emerged from the research:

    • Keep it simple

    • Good design matters

    • Careful design decisions ensure neutrality

    • A “whole to part” design is critical to comprehension

    • Standardization is highly effective

HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices

What We Did

  • Worked with the Department of Health and Human Services National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Office of Civil Rights to develop key messages and a core structure for the notice of privacy practices in both English and Spanish.

  • Used targeted plain language strategies to simplify complex language around disclosure and sharing of information.

  • Conducted four rounds of iterative qualitative testing to understand how typical consumers could use and understand the language.


Key Results

  • Reviews of the NPPs found them easy to read and useful, as well as a helpful baseline and convenient way for covered entities to comply with the HIPAA requirements.

  • Since their release model NPPs have been accessed and downloaded over 200,000 times.

  • NPPs are in use by organizations across the U.S., including Harvard Vanguard, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, California Department of Health Care Services (check your NPP, and you’ll likely find the language or design there!)