The Strange Appearance of Title Insurance Rates on the New Closing Disclosure

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calculator paperIs this what the CFPB intended?

South Carolina closing attorneys are in the throes of their first closings under the new CFPB rules. Title insurance company offices are fielding all kinds of unusual questions as everyone works through their first few sets of documents. And our collective eyes are having difficulty adjusting to the appearance of title insurance rates on the new Closing Disclosure.

Under the filed rates of the title companies in South Carolina, we have a simultaneous issue rate of $100 for a second policy in a transaction. Typically, the owner’s liability amount and premium are higher, so the simultaneous issue rate of $100 is the charge for the loan policy.

The South Carolina Department of Insurance (SCDOI) requires us to disclose the true cost of an owner’s policy over the cost of the loan policy. We have been accustomed to referring to this charge as the “difference plus $100” because we take the difference in the full cost of both policies and add the $100 simultaneous issue fee to arrive at the number the SCDOI requires.

Let’s look at an example:

In a purchase transaction, the sales price is $455,000, and the loan amount is $409,500.  The full premium for the ALTA Homeowner’s policy is $1,290.60, and the full premium for the loan policy is $981.00. In the past, the title and software companies’ rate calculators would have shown:

ALTA Homeowner’s policy rate: $1,290.60 (full premium)
Loan Policy (standard rate): 100.00 (simultaneous issue fee)
$1390.60 (total)

For the SCDOI required disclosure, we would have shown:

ALTA Homeowner’s policy rate: $409.60 (difference plus $100)
Loan Policy (standard rate): 981.00 (full premium amount)
$1390.60 (total)

The total of the two calculations was always consistent.

Now, the CFPB requires that the total cost of the loan policy be disclosed and any simultaneous issue discounts must be shown against the owner’s policy. That’s ok with our South Carolina eyes because we can use our “difference plus $100” calculation to reach the same result.

The problem occurs where there is a reissue credit. While the CFPB never specifically addressed how to handle a reissue credit, the agency was clear that the loan policy premium had to be reflected in full. So most of the title and software companies have decided to take the reissue credit from the owner’s policy premium as well.

In our example, let’s assume that there was a prior ALTA Homeowner’s policy in the amount of $315,000. The reissue credit would be $468.90 (half the full premium for $315,000), so the new total cost would be $921.70 ($1,390.60 – $468.20), and this is where the problem becomes more challenging:

ALTA Homeowner’s policy rate: $ -59.30 ($409.60 minus the credit of $468.90)
Loan Policy (standard rate): 981.00 (simultaneous issue fee)
$921.70 (total)

The total is the same (and correct in our collective view), but notice the negative number as the cost of the owner’s policy.

We have decided in our office to think about it this way. The Closing Disclosure is not a replacement for the HUD-1, and it is not a closing statement. It is simply what it is entitled, a closing disclosure that the CFPB requires for the consumer borrower.

We are going to have to prepare other documents (closing statements, disbursement analyses) that will allow us to properly disburse and to completely disclose each disbursement as required by the SCDOI, not to mention the South Carolina Supreme Court! And our eyes are just going to have to adjust to those negative numbers!

Thanks to Cris Garrick, the IT guru in our office who figured this out and convinced me it’s correct!

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Five Things Real Estate Agents Need To Know Before August

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 Dirt lawyers: Educate your real estate agents!

Our company has developed resources to equip dirt lawyers to educate real estate agents about how the CFPB will impact them beginning August 1.  I’m sharing a few tips with the letstalkdirtsc.com audience because everyone will benefit if real estate agents are prepared.

This is a primer, a very basic beginning point. The CFPB will not significantly impact the day-to-day processing of sales, but buyers and sellers will look to real estate agents for general information about the new rules and forms, as well as the impact on the loan process and the closing. As the software companies complete their updates, everyone involved will be trained on the details of the Loan Estimates and Closing Disclosures.  For now, let’s give real estate agents the following information.

1They should be able to explain the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure before August 1. The Good Faith Estimate (GFE), a form required by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and the initial Truth-in-Lending disclosure (TIL), a form required by the Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA) have been combined into a new form, the Loan Estimate. For loan applications taken on or after August 1, the three-page Loan Estimate will replace the GFE and the TIL and must be delivered within three business days of the application. The new five-page Closing Disclosure will replace the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and the final TILA form.

2The timing of a closing will be impacted by Closing Disclosure delivery.  The CFPB has determined that borrowers will be better served by having three days after receipt to review the Closing Disclosure prior to the closing. Absent a positive confirmation of receipt of the form (i.e., hand delivery), the form is “deemed received” three days after the delivery process is started (i.e., mailing). Several lenders have already announced that they will deliver the forms six days prior to closing.

Closing Disclosure Delivery Timeline Chart

3Title fees may need to be adjusted at closing and explained. The full premium for the lender’s title policy must be reflected on the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure despite the fact that we have a “simultaneous issue” discount in our filed rates in South Carolina. The discount that title insurance companies in South Carolina offer lenders must be deducted from the charge for the owner’s policy. Also, the owner’s policy will be shown as “optional” on both documents. Closing attorneys may look to real estate agents to assist them in explaining the value of owner’s title insurance.

4Line numbers have been removed and there are now seven fee areas on the Closing Disclosure. The familiar line numbering on the HUD-1 will disappear. Instead, the fees and charges are placed on the Closing Disclosure in one of seven areas:

  1. Origination charges;
  2. Services borrower did not shop for;
  3. Services borrower did shop for;
  4. Taxes and other government fees;
  5. Pre-paids;
  6. Initial escrow payment at closing; and
  7. Other.

Individual charges within each of these major groupings are listed alphabetically. Columns are provided to separate charges owed by the buyer, seller and others, as well as columns for payments before and at closing.

5Clients will likely receive more than one Closing Disclosure. Since the buyer will receive the Closing Disclosure several days before the closing (and likely before the walk-through), the buyer will likely receive a new, adjusted Closing Disclosure at the closing. The CFPB has also mandated that changes in the financial numbers in any amount, must be re-disclosed, even post-closing.

Good luck educating your referral sources!