Comparable loan data would aid borrowers

Part 1: Truth in mortgage disclosure

One of the most vexing and perplexing problems faced by mortgage borrowers has long been the two irreconcilable disclosures they receive about their loan: the Truth in Lending (TIL) form administered by the Federal Reserve, and the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) form administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Past efforts by these agencies to consolidate the forms, or at least reconcile them, never succeeded.

One of the sensible provisions of the Dodd-Frank bill was to create a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and to stipulate that one of its functions was to consolidate the TIL and GFE. On May 18, CFPB issued the first version of a new mortgage disclosure form that does exactly that.

The CFPB very sensibly elected to start from scratch rather than attempting to merge the TIL and GFE, which would have been akin to merging a walrus with a donkey. The form they developed, in two slightly different versions, will replace both.

While preliminary and subject to testing and comment from interested parties, the proposed disclosure has more useful information on its two pages than the other documents have on four pages, and the garbage disclosures that have long fouled the TIL are mercifully gone.