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HUD issues new settlement-cost booklet
WASHINGTON (12/29/09)—Starting Friday, Jan. 1, 2010, credit unions and other mortgage lenders must comply with the changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) implementing rules. These rules, finalized in November 2008 by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), require the use of revised Good Faith Estimate (GFE) forms and HUD-1 Settlement Statement forms. Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) posted on its website an updated “Shopping for Your Home Loan: HUD’s Settlement Cost Booklet,” which lenders are required to give to consumers within three days of their applying for a mortgage loan. The 49-page booklet has been revised to reflect the information and format of the revised forms. HUD significantly revised the GFE requirements to ensure that the estimates provided by lenders or brokers are more accurate, and to facilitate comparison shopping among lenders. Moreover, the changes made in the HUD-1 form were designed to facilitate easier comparison by the borrower of the information provided in the GFE form and what actually is owed at settlement. Credit unions have been asking the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) about the significance of HUD’s announcement in mid-November that HUD plans “restraint in RESPA enforcement” through April 2010. Last month HUD announced that it was instructing its staff “to exercise restraint in considering an action against FHA-approved lenders who have demonstrated that they are making a good faith effort to comply with RESPA’s new requirements…” HUD has enforcement authority over credit unions for RESPA compliance, although credit union examiners check for compliance. “Ten days ago Federal Housing Administration Commissioner David Stevens made clear that HUD’s restraint in enforcement does not mean there is any flexibility in which forms can be used starting on January 1,” said Kathy Thompson, CUNA’s SVP for Compliance. “The new forms must be used. The only time beyond Thursday when the old HUD-1 form can be used is when the GFE the borrower received was issued in 2009 on an old version of the GFE form.” “Obviously, lenders are going to have to act quickly to get the updated version of the HUD booklet into borrowers’ hands starting next week – and may just have to hand out downloaded versions for the time being,” noted Thompson. “I was surprised that HUD didn’t even issue a press release about the new booklet being available, so this is obviously a case where some regulatory flexibility will need to be shown.” The link to the revised HUD booklet is provided in the resources below. Thompson also noted that HUD held some limited-access informational webinars on the new RESPA rules earlier in December, but has not yet provided a publicly accessible link to the information provided on its webinar.
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