ALTA Meets with CFPB to Discuss Implementation Challenges of New Disclosures
|July 29, 2014|
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With implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new integrated mortgage disclosures only a year away, member of ALTA’s Integrated Mortgage Disclosures Task Force met with 12 members of bureau staff to discuss implementation challenges and share suggestions to ensure more consistent interpretations of the rule.
The CFPB Regulatory Implementation Team hosted the meeting to gather information to help it understand areas where the industry needs extra guidance to aid implementation. ALTA members meeting with the CFPB’s Regulatory Implementation Team were Pam Day, owner of Day Title Services; Mary Schuster, chief product officer at RamQuest; and Leslie Wyatt, director of industry relations at SoftPro. All three are members of ALTA’s Integrated Mortgage Disclosures Task Force. Day also is chair of ALTA’s Closing Committee.
“We need consistency in conversations to ensure what other groups are being told is the same message being shared with the title and settlement industry,” Wyatt said. “The bureau should help to break down silos between, lenders, real estate agents, attorneys, and title and settlement groups, so that we all get on the same page about implementation and compliance.”
Members of ALTA’s Task Force encouraged the CFPB to be more open and transparent when providing guidance on the rule. The group suggested the bureau host additional webinars and provide commentary on industry questions in a public and uniform manner to help ensure more consistent interpretations of the rule.
Schuster said that a dedicated open forum or increased participation by the bureau in the industry's bi-weekly Combined Mortgage Disclosure Forum calls hosted by ALTA would help to answer questions that arise during software development and testing. An open and transparent process is especially crucial when it comes to software. The Bureau should work with industry to pull together all the third-party providers and companies that have their own proprietary software to answer common questions and help ensure common design specifications.
“We know there are hurdles with implementation. That’s why facilitating a forum to address industry concerns would help alleviate various interpretations of the rule,” Schuster said. “Everyone wants to get this right. The goal is not to slow down implementation. The objective is to provide as smooth of an implementation as possible.”
Day said the CFPB should consider providing additional guidance on how to fill out the forms for different state laws and practices. While the bureau has published examples of disclosures for different loan products, samples of completed disclosures showing different state and local real estate customs and practices is needed.
“This would include the right way to disclose things such as seller credits and fee placement for different state specific fees,” Day said. “In addition, the bureau says the Closing Disclosure must be provided to the consumer at least three business days prior to the date of consummation of the transaction. Not every state defines consummation. It comes down to when the consumer becomes contractually obligated on the loan.”
Day added that it’s important to know if the bureau has one point of contact for state regulators.
Finally, ALTA’s Task Force encouraged the CFPB to provide a version of the disclosure that shows the statutory authority and liability for each line item. Since the Closing Disclosure combines requirements under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA), there’s questions on which statute trumps the other in regard to liability. There’s a private right of action for violations of TILA disclosure requirements. There’s no private right of action for violations of RESPA disclosure requirements. If something on the disclosure is wrong or not provided in the proper timeframe, the industry needs to know which statute applies and whether or not a consumer could file a lawsuit. Schuster said this is equally important for consumers.
“The bureau needs to help consumers understand what to expect and who they should contact if there are issues,” she said. “Consumers need to be empowered to know who’s accountable for errors.”
Also participating in the meeting were the National Association of Realtors and the American Escrow Association. Other associations that have met with the CFPB include the Mortgage Bankers Association. American Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers of America, Credit Union National Association, National Association of Federal Credit Unions.
If you have any questions, contact Steve Gottheim, ALTA’s legislative and regulatory counsel, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-261-2937.