Lenders and others attending a Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act roundtable Thursday afternoon are anticipating that HUD will finally reveal a RESPA reform rule it shelved in March 2004 due to industry and congressional opposition.One source indicated that the Department of Housing and Urban Development might provide a description of the rule, which was developed by former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez, but not an actual copy. HUD declined to comment. "I think that would be very, very useful because we would have something specific to talk about and not talk in generalities," said mortgage banking attorney Robert Lotstein. Many participants are approaching the four-hour roundtable discussion with skepticism and caution because HUD Secretary Alfonso Jackson has not revealed his approach to RESPA reform, and 35 groups will be attending Thursday's event. "How can it be constructive with that many people in the room?" one trade group executive asked. Others are wondering why HUD is pushing RESPA reform without putting something on the table. "We have no reason to be positive about something we haven't seen," said Tim Gearan, senior legislative representative for the AARP.

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