HUD Publishes Final RESPA Rule

November 17, 2008

SUMMARY: This final rule amends HUD's regulations to further RESPA's purposes by requiring more timely and effective disclosures related to mortgage settlement costs for federally related mortgage loans to consumers. The changes made by this final rule are designed to protect consumers from unnecessarily high settlement costs by taking steps to: improve and standardize the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) form to make it easier to use for shopping among settlement service providers; ensure that page 1 of the GFE provides a clear summary of the loan terms and total settlement charges so that borrowers will be able to use the GFE to identify a particular loan product and comparison shop among loan originators; provide more accurate estimates of costs of settlement services shown on the GFE; improve disclosure of yield spread premiums (YSPs) to help borrowers understand how YSPs can affect borrowers' settlement charges; facilitate comparison of the GFE and the HUD-1/HUD-1A Settlement Statements; ensure that at settlement borrowers are aware of final costs as they relate to their particular mortgage loan and settlement transaction; clarify HUD-1 instructions; expressly state that RESPA permits the listing of an average charge on the HUD-1; and strengthen the prohibition against requiring the use of affiliated businesses.

This final rule follows a March 14, 2008, proposed rule and makes changes in response to public comment and further consideration of certain issues by HUD. In addition, this rule provides for an appropriate transition period. Compliance with the new requirements pertaining to the GFE and settlement statements is not required until January 1, 2010. However, certain provisions are to be implemented upon the effective date of the final rule.

DATES: Effective Date: This rule is effective on January 16, 2009.

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North American Title Insurance Company (NATIC) is a seasoned title insurance underwriter, helping title agents to achieve their individual business goals for more than 50 years. Today, the company conducts real estate settlement services in 39 states and the District of Columbia through a network of experienced, independent agents.