A proposal to relax federal regulations to encourage the packaging of settlement services like title insurance with mortgage loans is either anticompetitive or doesn't go far enough -- depending on who's weighing in. Today is the last day to submit comments on the Department of Housing and Urban Development's proposed changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA, and critiques from industry and consumer groups are flooding in at the last moment. HUD estimates its proposed changes to RESPA, which include a revised good faith estimate (GFE) form that shows loan terms and settlement services costs, will help consumers comparison shop and save more than $700 per loan. Industry groups say HUD has underestimated the cost of implementing the new rules. Although only about 2,200 comments had been submitted as of Wednesday afternoon -- a far cry from the more than 40,000 responses to a more aggressive 2002 proposal that was withdrawn by HUD -- many groups waited ...
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