HUD Reaffirms RESPA Agenda

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is preparing to issue a Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act reform proposal soon, according to secretary Alphonso Jackson.

The HUD secretary told a congressional panel last week that a proposed rule would probably be issued in 60-90 days, although HUD officials say the rulemaking process will likely take longer.

He indicated to the congressmen that he expects the RESPA proposal will be well received but he did not provide any specifics.

Secretary Jackson also told a meeting of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers last week that it is "too early" to discuss the "substance" of the RESPA proposal. "But I will tell you that there will be a new rule proposed very soon."

It is believed HUD is working with the White House budget office on the final drafts of the RESPA proposal.

The HUD secretary thanked the mortgage brokers for their input at the RESPA roundtables that HUD sponsored last summer.

"You made a meaningful difference. I am confident, once you see the HUD proposal, it will be much better because we had your help," the secretary said.

During the roundtables, the mortgage brokers recommended that HUD concentrate on recasting the good-faith estimate disclosure (which the borrower receives shortly after applying for a mortgage) as opposed to attempting more ambitious reforms.

Other industry groups embraced NAMB's recommendation of making the GFE comparable to the HUD-1 settlement sheet so that consumers can easily tell if the lender or settlement service providers have jacked up the closing costs.

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