4/24/2015

New Transaction Closing Rules with CFPB - Part II

Note:  The new start date is October 1, 2015. 6/28/2015.
Mark August 1, 2015 as the date on which transactions will be impacted!

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is an independent agency which operates withoutCongressional supervision, one of the few such entities in the country, and is considered a least accountable agency (by just about everybody including Congress).  It oversees banks and financial institutions, credit unions, students loan, credit card companies, payday lending companies, mortgages, foreclosures.  (It resulted from the Dodd Frank Act which came into place as a result of the economic crash, and its director was appointed by President Obama.)

The CFPB is not federally funded, but instead issues fines to banks for their bad behavior:
Wells Fargo - $24 million; Chase - $11.7 million, NewDay Financial - $2 million; and just the other day, per their website "Green Tree to Pay $48 Million in Borrower Restitution and $15 Million Fine for Servicing Failures".  Yes, there have been failures by the banks, but how we got to a bureau that seems to have no oversight seems to be borrowing a page from the bank failure book.

But for now, consumers, lenders, escrow, title and real estate agents are at the beginning of changes will are most certainly to lengthen the average 30-day transaction to 10-15 days longer.

New terms:
Escrow=settlement agent
Lender=creditor
Day loan docs are signed=consummation day
Close of escrow day=settlement day
LE=loan estimate (no longer a good faith estimate)
CD=Closing Disclosure (replaces HUD-1)

Buyers and sellers, get familiar with all terms but know that "CD" is a 5-page disclosure which must be received by the borrower a minimum of 3 business days before signing of loan documents.  It doesn't matter if you can read and sign in 3 hours, you must wait 3 business days before loan documents can be signed.  What if you ask the seller, and the seller agrees, to compensate the buyer $350.00 towards the buyer's closing costs during escrow?  The borrower receives a new CD and must wait 3 business days.  If the lender decides to mail out the CD to the borrower instead of allowing digital signature time, then the lenders will give a total of 7 business days from send out.

Sellers, I can only say this:  Make reasonable repairs, including all carbon monoxide and smoke detector placements where required,  prior to listing to avoid delays with appraisers calling out such repairs, which will require a second visit by the appraiser, and which also costs the borrower more, in order to avoid these delays.
Buyers, If you decide to make an offer on a property which requires numerous or even just a few, repairs, be prepared for a longer transaction, because everytime a change is made, a new 5-page CD goes out to the borrower from the lender.  You can see how the time starts adding up, going well beyond the existing 17 and 21 days for buyer to investigate and remove contingencies.
Other examples of changes which will require 3 business day re-disclosure:
Changes in APR; changes in the loan product; addition of a pre-payment penalty.
Realtors must be prepared for these changes and be able to work with their clients on these timelines.

A sample calendar provided to me recently shows Day 1 starting on a Monday (Saturdays are included as business days, Sundays are excluded), going all the way through to Day 38 in a NORMAL transaction showing the lender's schedule, but this calendar did not take into account what else could be happening between the buyer and seller during the various contract contingency period, which is how further issues and additional time periods could come up. There is much that will be found out on a practical level when the time comes, because there are still unknowns in these new requirements.
Additional issues:  Lenders may refuse to work with certain escrow companies, and therefore buyer and seller may not be able to choose in some circumstances, because the lender may force both parties to transfer the file to another company.  Please remember, California escrow companies already are "vetted" and responsible to the Department of Business Oversight which maintains their own rigorous standards.

At this point, consumers need to change some of their expectations, both with their loans and the property transaction itself, and who they may be able to select for services.
These are nation-wide changes, not just something happening in one county or one state.  Some industry professionals are saying they've never seen anything like this during their 30 or 40 years in real estate (and they don't mean it in a nice way), so what happens after August 1 will be different--that much we know.



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