Easier mortgage forms that might not be
The government's new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is already on the defensive about its push toward simplified mortgage paperwork.
The bureau last week released two prototypes of what the new forms could look like. You can view and vote on the two-page forms at the bureau's website.
These forms combine the two-page Truth-in-Lending disclosure form and the three-page Good Faith Estimate consumers sign when closing on their home loan. If you've gone through this process lately, you may remember how dense some of this material is.
While simplified paperwork is a win for anyone buying a home, lenders already are complaining, according to Bloomberg.com.
Bankers allege implementing the new forms will be costly – and ultimately passed down to the consumer. They also fear the mortgage forms could "stifle" new products.
But as Ed Mierzwinski, a consumer advocate with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, pointed out in a Huffington Post column: "Of course, these are the same guys who rolled out the dangerous, predatory, confusing mortgages that led to the collapse of the financial system in the first place, even if they refuse to take responsibility."
Meanwhile, consumer advocates are concerned buyers will lose options, and comparison home loan shopping will be difficult with the new forms. The advocacy groups also are concerned home buyers will not have the upper hand in going after lenders who wrong them.
There's a long history of competing interests chipping away at good intentions. While the push for more focus on consumer protection is a plus for the buyer, these challenges only serve to complicate the matter.
This is where you come in.
The bureau will take feedback until Friday on its two proposed forms. Then it will test the forms in select markets around the country before finalizing its proposal within a year.
Let your voice be heard.
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