WASHINGTON – Jan. 7, 2014 – The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) wants a “more streamlined, efficient” closing process, and it’s accepting suggestions on how to do it.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act) created the CFPB. It works “to give consumers the information they need to understand the terms of their agreements with financial companies” and “make regulations and guidance as clear and streamlined as possible.”
According to a proposal seeking comments published in the Federal Register, CFPB is looking for information on “pain points” a buyer faces in a mortgage closing. It wants suggestions on how to alleviate that pain through market innovations or technology, such as increased use of electronic signatures or paperless processes.
Consumers, real estate agents and anyone involved in the mortgage closing process is invited to submit suggestions.
Suggestions sent to CFPB should include “Docket No. CFPB-2013-0036.” Comments can be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, or mailed to:
Office of the Executive Secretary
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
1700 G Street NW.
Washington, DC 20552
Questions CFPB hopes to answer
1. What are common problems or issues consumers face at closing? What parts of the closing process do consumers find confusing or overwhelming?
2. Are there specific parts of the closing process that borrowers find particularly helpful?
3. What do consumers remember about closing as related to the overall mortgage/home-buying process? What do consumers remember about closing?
4. How long does the closing process usually take? Do borrowers feel that the time at the closing table was an appropriate amount of time? Is it too long? Too short? Just right?
5. 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?
6. What, if anything, have you found helps consumers understand the terms of the loan?
Errors and changes at closing
7. What are some common errors you have seen at closing? How are these errors detected, if at all? Tell us about errors that were detected after closing.
8. What changes, diverging from what was originally presented at closing, often surprise consumers at closing? How do consumers react to changes at closing?
Other parties at closing
9. How, if at all, do consumers typically seek advice during closing? In person? By phone? Online?
10. Where and to whom do consumers turn for advice during closing? Whom do they typically trust?
11. What documents do borrowers usually remember seeing? What documents they remember signing?
12. What documents do consumers find particularly confusing?
13. What resources do borrowers use to define unfamiliar terms of the loan?
14. What, if anything, would you change about the closing process to make it a better experience for consumers?
15. What questions should consumers ask at closing? What are the most important pieces of information/documents for them to review?
16. What is the single most important question a consumer should ask at closing?
17. What is the single most important thing a consumer should do before coming to the closing table?
For more information on the CFPB initiative, visit the Federal Register website.
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