Changes in the HUD Part 3

This is the 3rd installment of text taken from the Federal Register about changes to the settlement process.  This section deals with requirements for the “Good Faith Estimate”.   It’s a lot longer – 4 pages now. 

The next post will have comments by the public about the proposed changes.

III. GFE and GFE Requirements—

Discussion of Public Comments

A. Overall Comments on the Proposed Required GFE Form

Proposed Rule. HUD proposed a four page GFE form. The first page of the GFE included a summary chart with key terms and information about the loan for which the GFE was provided, including initial loan balance; loan term; initial interest rate; initial amount owed for principal, interest, and any mortgage insurance; rate lock period; whether the interest rate can rise; whether the loan balance can rise; whether the monthly amount owed for principal, interest, and any mortgage insurance can rise; whether the loan has a prepayment penalty; whether the loan has a balloon payment; and whether the loan includes a monthly escrow payment for property taxes and possibly other obligations. The first page of the form also included information regarding the length of time the interest rate for the GFE was valid; the length of time the other settlement charges were valid; information about when settlement must occur if the borrower proceeds with the loan; and information concerning how many days the interest rate must be locked before settlement. At the bottom of the first page, the GFE included a summary of the settlement charges. The adjusted origination charges listed on the second page, along with the charges for all other settlement charges listed on the second page, would have been totaled and listed on this page.

The second page of the GFE included a listing of estimated settlement charges. The loan originator’s service charge would have been required to be listed at the top of page two, and the credit or charge (points) for the specific interest rate chosen would have been required to be subtracted or added to the service charge to arrive at the adjusted origination charge, which would have been shown on the top of page two. Page two of the GFE also would have required an estimate for all other settlement services. The GFE included categories for other settlement services including: Required services that the loan originator selected; title services and lender’s title insurance; required services that the borrower would have been able to shop for; government recording and transfer charges; reserves or escrow; daily interest charges; homeowner’s insurance; and optional owner’s title insurance. The GFE would have required these charges to be subtotaled at the bottom of page two. The sum of the adjusted origination charges and the charges for all other settlement services would have been required to be listed on the bottom of page 2.

The third page of the GFE would have required information concerning shopping for a loan offer. In addition, page three would have included information about which settlement charges could change at settlement, and by how much such charges could change. Page 3 also would have required the loan originator to include information about loans for which a borrower would have qualified that would increase or decrease settlement charges, with a corresponding change in the interest rate of the loan.

The fourth page of the GFE included a discussion of financial responsibilities of a homeowner. The loan originator would have been required to state the annual property taxes and annual homeowner’s flood, and other required property protection insurance, but would not have been required to state estimates for other charges such as annual homeowner’s association or condominium fees. The GFE included a section that advised borrowers that the type of loan chosen could affect current and future monthly payments. The proposed GFE also indicated that the borrower could ask the loan originator for more information about loan types and could look at several government publications, including HUD’s Special Information Booklet on settlement charges, Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosures, and consumer information publications of the Federal Reserve Board. The March 2008 proposed rule invited comments on possible additional ways to increase consumer understanding of adjustable rate mortgages.

Page 4 also would have included information about possible lender compensation after settlement. In addition, page 4 would have included a shopping chart to assist the borrower in comparing GFEs from different loan originators and information about how to apply for the loan for which the GFE had been provided.

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