CFPB Wants Your Thoughts on Mortgage Closing Process

News

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.

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