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Maine Enacts Escrow Rules

Gov. John Baldacci recently signed a House bill here, which applies to creditors, assignees or servicers that hold or control funds of a consumer in an escrow account for the payment of taxes or insurance premiums.

According to the Washington law firm Lotstein Buckman LLP, under the amendments, these entities must make timely payments from such escrow accounts for a consumer credit transaction secured by a mortgage on real estate.

Additionally, creditors, assignees and servicers will be liable to the consumer for actual damages resulting from failure to make timely payments from the escrow account. These entities are obligated to rectify the results of a failure to make timely payments.

The bill also addresses requests for payoff figures. Creditors, assignees and servicers must respond to a request for a payoff figure within three business days following receipt of such a request. The bill prohibits any charges for the first two requests for payoff figures in a calendar year, but there may be a charge for each subsequent request up to $5.

After the legislature adjourns, the bill is expected to take effect at the end of September.

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