Changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), of all the regulatory changes affecting the mortgage industry this year, pose the greatest compliance concern for lenders in 2009, according to recent research. 74% of lenders who participated in a survey conducted by QuestSoft cited adjustments to fee accuracy rules set forth in RESPA as major concern for lending practices. To prevent kickbacks that increase the cost of settlement services, RESPA requires lenders to supply complete disclosures to consumers during several stages of the transaction process. The new rules specify that lenders must provide borrowers with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) within three days of receiving an application as one such disclosure. QuestSoft says HR1728, which passed the House Financial Services Committee on April 29, has added to the confusion. The House bill would negate the current RESPA changes and force a rewrite to better complement the Federal Reserve’s Truth in Lending Act (TILA). “RESPA changes are very confusing right now, and lenders do not believe regulations will get easier to understand anytime soon,” said Leonard Ryan, president of QuestSoft in a press release today. In addition to the changes to RESPA, 54% of the surveyed lenders said that changes to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), which requires lenders to disclose public loan data to prove complete service within their community, posed major concerns in 2009. 49% of respondents cited Red Flags adherence as a major concern, 45% said compliance with federal, state and local consumer laws and 39% cited borrower identity fraud.

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