HUD seeks more feedback on RESPA reform

August 17, 2005

Agency schedules another meeting with consumers, industry pros

Inman News

HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson A new roundtable discussion on rules regulating how U.S. consumers buy and refinance homes has been added to the roster of such meetings held this summer by the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development.

The event is the seventh in a series HUD is presenting to get input from consumers and industry professionals on how to improve the mortgage settlement process. Attendees will include representatives from HUD and SBA and invited representatives from small- to medium-sized businesses.

"The Department has been approached by a number of organizations that were notinvited to previous roundtables and hoped to contribute to the dialogue. So, in a spirit of openness, HUD is planning one more roundtable here in Washington on Thursday, August 25th," HUD Spokesman Brian Sullivan said today.

"In order to provide the sort of balanced and diverse representation we've had at previous sessions, we're also asking some consumer and industry representatives to attend though they may have attended previous roundtables. Again, all in the name of diversity," Sullivan said. Information on the meeting is available at

Reform of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA, has been an issue for years. Alphonso Jackson, U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary, in late April promised members of a national mortgage banking association to seek their input on reform of RESPA.

The housing agency has attempted to simplify the home-buying process for consumers by making changes to RESPA, which regulates the closing process.

HUD's "roadmap" for reforming RESPA's regulatory requirements includes three Washington roundtables for invited representatives of consumer and industry organizations. In addition, HUD and the Small Business Administration plan roundtable discussions in Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas-Ft. Worth specifically designed to hear from the small business community.

HUD's previous attempts to make changes to RESPA to simplify the home-buying process for consumers came to a halt in March 2004 when Jackson withdrew the agency's proposal from the White House Office of Management and Budget. At that time, Jackson said HUD would reexamine the rule, revise it if necessary and re-propose it.

The original changes, proposed about three years ago, netted an unprecedented 45,000 comments during the public comment portion in 2002. Many of those came from within the real estate industry in opposition to the changes.

The original proposal would have changed the disclosure requirements for mortgage broker fees, including the controversial yield spread premiums, simplify the good faith estimate form and permit the sale of guaranteed-price bundled packages of mortgages and mortgage-related services. The changes aimed to make it easier for home buyers to understand the closing process.

Copyright 2005 Inman News

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