After years of stories about the sudden about-face mortgage lending took after 2008 when anyone who could fog up a mirror could get a home loan, since then mortgage lenders did anything but lend.

Alternative and subprime loans vanished along approvals getting easierwith the lenders who pushed them while mortgage lenders pulled back the approval reigns for conventional home loans. The mantra changed from “anyone can get a loan” to “no one can get a loan” within a matter of months.

And while that’s certainly true, it appears there may be some cracks in that hard to open mortgage vault. Each year, data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act is released providing insight on who gets approved, where and how. This information is collected from a loan application in a special section that asks about the borrower’s race and ethnicity, male or female and other personal details. Even if the borrower refuses to provide that information, thinking doing so might hurt the chances of an approval, the loan officer who take the is required to make an approximation, most often done after a face to face meeting or simply looking at a driver’s license.

The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, or HMDA, was introduced to identify discriminatory practices in lending. That’s how such data as how many Hispanics were approved or how many single white females were allowed financing. It’s straight from this data that all lenders must collect.

One important detail from the most recent report shows that fewer mortgage applications were declined compared to the previous year. In 2012, 34 percent of all home loans went unfunded, compared to 40 percent in 2011. That’s quite a jump and could be an indicator that lenders are beginning to become more comfortable in today’s lending environment. Real estate investors need more lenders who say “yes” more than they need lenders who say “well, not now.”