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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is seeking additional comments from the settlement services industry and consumers to assist its understanding and regulation over the real estate closing process. The CFPB recently introduced a Notice and Request for Comment to the public.

Through this notice, the CFPB is looking for market participants and consumers to help answer the following questions:

  • What are common problems or issues consumers face at closing? What parts of the closing process do consumers find confusing or overwhelming?
  • Are there specific parts of the closing process that borrowers find particularly helpful?
  • What do consumers remember about closing as related to the overall mortgage/home-buying process? What do consumers remember about closing?
  • How long does the closing process usually take? Do borrowers feel that the time at the closing table was an appropriate amount of time? Is it too long? Too short? Just right?
  • How empowered do consumers seem to feel at closing? Did they come to closing with questions? Did they review the forms beforehand? Did they know that they can request their documents in advance? Did they negotiate?
  • What, if anything, have you found helps consumers understand the terms of the loan?
  • What are some common errors you have seen at closing? How are these errors detected, if at all? Tell us about errors that were detected after closing.
  • What changes, diverging from what was originally presented at closing, often surprise consumers at closing? How do consumers react to changes at closing?
  • How, if at all, do consumers typically seek advice during closing? In person? By phone? Online?
  • Where and to whom do consumers turn for advice during closing? Whom do they typically trust?
  • What documents do borrowers usually remember seeing? What documents they remember signing?
  • What documents do consumers find particularly confusing?
  • What resources do borrowers use to define unfamiliar terms of the loan?
  • What, if anything, would you change about the closing process to make it a better experience for consumers?
  • What questions should consumers ask at closing? What are the most important pieces of information/documents for them to review?
  • What is the single most important question a consumer should ask at closing?
  • What is the single most important thing a consumer should do before coming to the closing table?

The CFPB seeks to encourage the development of a more streamlined, efficient, and educational closing process as the mortgage industry increases its usage of technology, electronic signatures, and paperless processes. The next phase of CFPB’s Know Before You Owe initiative aims to identify ways to improve the mortgage closing process for consumers. This project will encourage interventions that increase consumer knowledge, understanding, and confidence at closing.

This notice seeks information from market participants, consumers, and other stakeholders who work closely with consumers. The information will inform the CFPB’s understanding of what consumers find most problematic about the current closing process and inform the CFPB’s vision for an improved closing experience.

We urge all NAILTA members to take the time to provide their own personal responses to the CFPB request. You may submit responsive information and other comments, identified by Docket No. CFPB-2013-0036, by any of the following methods:

Click here to submit comments to CFPB

 

Electronic:  http://www.regulations.gov   Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier:   Monica Jackson, Office of the Executive Secretary, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20552.

At present, there are only 247 public comments on this important issue. We need all of you to take the time to double that number. If any of you need support or answers to questions on NAILTA policy regarding these comments, please feel free to contact info@nailta.org and we will assist you.