Monday, December 01, 2008

I think we share the same goal but I have a differing view on the new RESPA rule.

ClosingCorp says:

Under the Good Faith Estimate provision of the new rule, a mortgage lender can "guarantee" to its customers that the price of its designated vendors' settlement services will not increase by more than 10 percent at closing. If, however, borrowers elect to shop for their own real estate closing service providers, they have no such protection. "It should be no surprise that a borrower, when faced with this choice, will decline to shop for settlement service providers and be relegated to use those vendors preselected by the lender," the company said in its comments on the rule filed last May. ClosingCorp urged that HUD provide consumers who prefer to shop for their own real estate settlement services with clear information as to what services they can shop for; explain that they may find lower rates or more acceptable providers on their own; and even refer consumers to online or other resources that will assist them in comparing vendors and prices, or even initiating a transaction. Alternatively, HUD could provide these links and references on a newly-created consumer assistance page on its own Web site.

I agree that consumers should be encouraged to shop but I think the folks at ClosingCorp are missing the value the 10% tolerance brings to the GFE. Loan originators have had very little motivation to get their settlement service quotes right. These new tolerances at least pull the quotes into some sort of reality when the loan originator is making a referral.

Remember, that just giving a quote doesn't obligate the consumer to use that company BUT having this price quote in hand will give consumers reliable figures with which to go out and comparison shop. Isn't that great? It's a major step forward in consumer centric disclosures.

Loan originators who would prefer not to make a referral, don't have to give an accurate quote, they just tell consumers to go find someone to do the job.

Either way, the consumer has more information and more power than they did under the old rules.


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