Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., says he is "disappointed" that the Department of Housing and Urban Development has disregarded his advice and decided to move ahead with a final RESPA rule."While Sen. Shelby supports the underlying goals of HUD's efforts, he continues to firmly believe that HUD should issue a revised proposed rule and a new economic study that allows for public comments on HUD's rule," committee spokesman Andrew Gray said. "RESPA reform is too significant to rush into a rule without fully appreciating its impact on our economy." HUD has transmitted to the Office of Management and Budget a final RESPA rule that supposedly revamps its Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act regulations to simplify the mortgage process and reduce closing costs. HUD has not released a copy of the rule. Industry and consumer groups were urging HUD to re-propose the RESPA rule so they could review it to see if it's workable and protects consumers. And many thought the RESPA rule was dead when HUD Secretary Mel Martinez resigned on Dec. 12. But those hopes were dashed when President Bush gave RESPA reform a strong endorsement at a bill-signing ceremony Dec. 17 and said he hopes the regulations are "finalized soon."

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