BrokerageIndustry News

Bankers to new HUD chief: Axe RESPA changes

Industry remains opposed to new disclosures, settlement procedures

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Eight groups representing the banking and financial services industry are asking newly appointed Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan to scrap the Bush administration's changes to rules governing loan disclosures and the provision of settlement services like title insurance. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has said that changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA, will help consumers shop around for the best deal. That, plus increased competition, could produce savings of about $700 per loan, or $8.35 billion a year, HUD said in publishing the final RESPA rules in November (see story). But the real estate industry remains opposed to the changes, saying HUD has overestimated the benefits for consumers and underestimated the havoc they could wreak on the industry. In a Feb. 9 letter to Donovan, groups including the Mortgage Bankers Association, the American Escrow Association, the American Bankers Association, and the American Financial Service...