ALTA Needs Real-life Examples of How Consumers are Affected by Failed, Delayed Closings

April 30, 2015

Providing genuine examples of real-life situations is a powerful tool when trying to be persuasive and make a case on a particular point. Sharing real-life examples of how regulations work on Main Street also go a long way in helping members of Congress relate to a situation.

On April 15, ALTA President Diane Evans NTP testified before Congress and outlined ways to improve the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s TILA-RESPA integrated disclosure rule so industry can better serve consumers. To prepare for the hearing, ALTA asked its members to provide examples of how regulation has affected consumers and business. Several members provided strong, specific narratives describing practical experiences in the field.

“Sharing stories and examples to illustrate how regulation affects consumers and business is incredibly persuasive,” said Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “When Diane testified before Congress, she shared some very powerful stories. Members of Congress want to hear how their constituents are affected by federal legislation and regulation.”

In May, Evans will once again testify before Congress. Her testimony will focus on the TRID regulation. ALTA is asking members to provide real-life examples of why transactions did not close. Was something discovered during the walk-through? Were concessions made at the last minute? Was there an issue with the lender? We know you all have stories, so please share the details—the more specific the better.

Providing members of Congress with specific details when answering questions, helps make a stronger argument. Examples of details include names of consumers  involved in transactions impacted by the regulations, the cost and type of a home that was purchased, information about how one transaction was contingent on the closing of others, etc. Explaining how homebuyers were financially harmed also is useful. Did a delayed closing result in losing their rate lock? Did the family have to find alternative housing?

Email details to Awesta Sarkash, ALTA’s grassroots and advocacy coordinator, at [email protected]. Feedback will be valuable to include in Evans’ testimony, as well as her responses to questions from members of Congress.

“We’ve done a great job of sharing the story of the moving van waiting in the parking lot,” Korsmo said. “Now, we’ve got to provide the specific details and explain the real-life situations. This storytelling will help members of Congress understand and relate to what consumers experience when buying a house. ALTA members are in a great position to share these stories since they sit at the closing table with consumers every day and share in their joy of getting the keys to their new home or the frustration of with dealing with delays.”

For Evan’s testimony earlier this month, ALTA members shared examples of how the CFPB’s lack of guidance regarding lender oversight of its third-party service providers has affected consumers.

Nancy McNealy of Consumer Real Estate Title provided information on how much it will cost her company to prepare for the TRID regulation. In order to support the changes, McNealy said her company had to switch software providers.  Installation of the new software and computers cost around $5,000, while it also cost an addition $3,000 to retrieve old files and to continue to access an old database. The added expense represents a 5 percent increase in the cost of doing business for one regulation alone in 2015.

Ellen Wagner of Members Title Group in Wisconsin shared a story of a couple whose closing was delayed four days because the lender hired a third-party vendor to collect business information from the title company.

“This delay didn’t protect (the homebuyers) from financial harm,” Wagner told ALTA.” The delay was simply because a mortgage lender hired a third-party vendor, who is unregulated to request the Social Security Number and personal bank account information, of another third-party vendor (the title company), who is regulated and licensed by states department of insurance. This is not commonsense consumer protection – this is overregulation.”

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or [email protected].