New Mortgage Rules: Too Little, Too Late!

foreclosure defense attorneysA new agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been established. The purpose of this agency is to see to it we do not end up in another real estate bubble related to improper, unfair and illegal mortgage practices by financial institutions.

Owning one’s home is the American dream. The process of purchasing a home involves applying for a mortgage. Mortgage brokers and loan officers at banks seek to simplify this process. However, applying for a mortgage loan is generally the largest financial transaction a family enters into. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is set up pursuant to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. New applications and forms are created by this statute. They are supposed to be in simplified, easy to read, and involve complete disclosure.

Financial institutions are supposed to clearly provide individuals applying for the mortgage with information concerning the actual cost of the loan. The principal amount. The amount of interest they are being charged and what they will spend in closing costs. The forms must also contain information concerning other aspects of the financial transaction including but not limited to whether there will be prepayment penalties and other costs related to the financing. The new law goes a long way to simplifying and clarifying this process for prospective home buyers. However, it does not go far enough.

Failure of the New Mortgage Rules

What the new forms do not do is provide the prospective homeowner with a logical basis to compare loan products from different financial institutions. The new loan forms do not include various costs related to the purchase of a home. Some of the costs these forms do not deal with are title insurance, closing expenses related to taxes, fuel oil costs to heat the house, and attorneys fees for hiring an attorney for legal representation.

No Three Day Right to Review

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had initially requested that all financial institutions be required to give the mortgagors a three day right to review the information whenever loan terms concerning the transaction are changed or modified. Unfortunately, this rule was not established. Lenders still have the ability to present the mortgagors, at the time of the closing, with changes in the cost structure of the financing. This is both unfair and unreasonable. You have homeowners sitting at the table at their closing expecting to pay one amount for the financing of their home and being told at the last minute, it is going to cost you more. They are too deep into the transaction to walk away. They are stuck with a higher cost of their mortgage. This is true even if the higher costs are beyond their ability to pay. Lenders should be forced to live up to the terms of their proposals when they offer prospective homeowners mortgages. They should not be allowed to change the terms at the last minute to the prospective homeowners detriment.

The establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law was a great idea. Unfortunately, this great idea has not worked out completely to consumer’s benefit.

helping homeowners stay in their homesElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure defense lawyer with more than 45 years of legal experience. He litigates foreclosure lawsuits throughout the Metropolitan New York area. He keeps families in their homes and helps them obtain mortgage modifications.

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