The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was honored by the Center for Plain Language’s Grand ClearMark Award for its creation of the loan estimate form. The center praised the form as the best example of clear, concise communication. The award was presented at the Center for Plain Language’s fifth annual national ClearMark Awards, April 22, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Graves Fowler Creative and its partner Kleimann Communication Group won top honors in the 2014 ClearMark Award Program for their work on the integrated Loan Estimate form for the CFPB. The Grand ClearMark is the top recognition given by an international panel of judges.
The winning entry, the integrated Loan Estimate form, helps homebuyers compare offers from different lenders and understand loan terms and closing costs in order to make informed decisions. The team used qualitative and quantitative testing as well as an iterative design process to develop a form that meets the needs of both English- and Spanish-speaking communities.
“When a government agency such as the CPFB turns two long, head-scratching forms into one that’s shorter, clearer and easier to use, the Center for Plain Language rejoices,” said Annetta Cheek, chair, Board of Directors, Center for Plain Language. “The testing that went into this redesign — both before and after — is impressive, and shows in the results.”
A judge said, “Consumers understand and can use this form more easily, and lenders are actually eager to use it. That’s a big win for a public agency — and the public.”
“The increased clarity of these loan disclosures will foster a more competitive marketplace for lenders and other settlement service providers,” said Richard Horn, former CFPB senior counsel and special advisor. Horn is now partner at Dentons US LLP. “And perhaps more importantly, the disclosures will let consumers make better financial decisions for themselves and their families. The team’s hard work will arguably prevent the recurrence of one of the primary causes of the financial crisis that has cost this country so much.”
The Center for Plain Language established this annual award program to honor the best use of plain language in print and online communications by government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private industry. This year there were 132 entries.