Participants in the Department of Housing and Urban Development's first-ever RESPA reform forum voiced the opinion that perhaps significant changes in settlement practices are not needed after all.At the end of a three-hour public forum on reforming the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, HUD moderator Charles Field asked the 35-plus participants whether they would be upset if nothing were done to change the regulation. Those who replied suggested that the market would be just fine. "If nothing is done, it would be okay," an official from the Nebraska Realtors Association said. "The market is working. If you change it, you would have to educate the consumer all over again." An executive from First American Land Title added, "We don't need a rule to accomplish changes." Representatives from consumer groups want mortgage customers to have the ability to comparison-shop for a one-price closing package, but lenders and others in real estate finance, while open to the idea, are not certain how to accomplish such a task. Regina Lowrie, chairman-elect of the Mortgage Bankers Association, told Mr. Field that "whatever we do in RESPA we need to do it right, not fast." The MBA also voiced concern that the trade group, which represents 2,900 mortgage-related firms, was invited to participate in just one of HUD's six public forums on RESPA reform. (For the full story, see the July 18 issue of National Mortgage News.)

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