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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published in the July 29th edition of the Federal Register, the agency’s long-awaited proposal to reform the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) that includes new rules intended to simplify and improve the mortgage process and reduce settlement costs for homebuyers. Among the proposal’s features, lenders would have to disclose, yield-spread premiums and provide borrowers with a good faith estimate detailing the annual percentage rate, any prepayment penalties and all fees, before the borrower agrees to the loan terms. The changes are also expected to make it easier for real estate brokerages, lenders and title companies to earn fees on cross-selling products without being charged with violating Federal laws that prevent kickbacks in real estate settlement services. Lenders would be allowed to offer a bundled loan package called a “guaranteed mortgage package agreement” that includes loan origination and all settlement services. These lenders would not be required to offer borrowers a good faith estimate, but the agreement could not be offered on high-cost mortgage loans. HUD set Oct. 28 as the deadline for comments on its proposal. CUNA said it plans to comment. John Zimmerman of NAFCU said the association “will likely” comment.

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