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CFPB Wants Your Thoughts on Mortgage Closing Process

January 3rd, 2014 9:26 AM by Jackie A. Graves

As the next step in its "Know Before You Owe" initiative the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) plans to look at what goes on at the home purchase closing table.  CFPB says the closing process is one that can be stressful and confusing for consumers and is often their last opportunity to gain information and understanding of a major long-term financial commitment.  CPFB wants to obtain more information of what in the process consumers find to be most problematic. 

In a notice to be published today in The Federal Register the Bureau is inviting public comments on consumer "pain points" at closing.  This is the first step in several initiatives to test and study ways in which the closing process might be improved through market innovations and technology.

CFPB is seeking general information as well as answers to 17 specific questions about closings and consumer preparation for the event, the types of errors and changes that occur, the role of other parties in the process, paperwork, and consumers' comfort with the process.  CFPB is hoping for responses from a broad away of participants including consumers, mortgage lenders and servicers, real estate professionals, housing counselors, real estate attorneys, settlement agents, consumer and community advocates, and any other interested parties.

Respondents are encouraged in their comments to address the general subject areas as well as the specific questions therein:

Consumers and Closing

  • 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?
  • How long does the closing process usually take and do borrowers feel this time is of appropriate length?
  • 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?

Errors and Changes at Closing

  • What are some common errors you have seen at closing? After closing? How are these errors detected, if at all?
  • What changes often surprise consumers at closing? How do consumers react to changes at closing?

Other Parties 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?

Closing Documents

  • What documents do borrowers usually remember seeing? Signing?
  • What documents do consumers find particularly confusing?
  • What resources do borrowers use to define unfamiliar terms of the loan?

Improving Closing

  • 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 thing a consumer should do before coming to the closing table?

The Bureau said it hopes the responses, which must be submitted on or before February 7, will lead into a project to increase consumer knowledge, understanding, and confidence at closing as the mortgage industry increases its usage of technology, electronic signatures, and paperless processes.

More info on submitting a response can be found at the Federal Register.

Posted in:General
Posted by Jackie A. Graves on January 3rd, 2014 9:26 AM


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