New Penn Financial Announces Closing Portal

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October 3Lender announcements are coming at a fast and furious pace now that we are within days of TRID’s October 3 deadline. Blogging about all of the broadcasts seems to be less than beneficial since most of them are repetitive at this point and since many of the regional lenders making announcements at this late date don’t appear to do business in South Carolina.

A new announcement from New Penn Financial, however, seems noteworthy for two reasons:  (1) this lender advertises it has an office in Murrells Inlet; and (2) the announcement includes news of a new closing portal and “closing agent portal job aid”. You can read the announcement in its entirely here, and follow its link to the “job aid”.

The lender indicates it has implemented the use of SmartGFE and Closing.com to provide more accurate fees to borrowers, and encourages all settlement agents (closing attorneys in South Carolina) to register with Closing.com as soon as possible. The initial and final Closing Disclosures will be sent to settlement agents through the DocuTech Closing Collaboration Portal (ConformX) for review and approval. No advance set-up is required to use this portal.

Interestingly, New Penn indicates it will offer both an E-signature process and a “wet” signature process as delivery and signing methods for the Loan Estimate and the Initial Closing Disclosure.  The memo states the disclosures will be delivered in accordance with CFPB’s timing requirements and that the delivery methods will ensure proof of delivery.

As we have spoken to closing attorneys and real estate agents across South Carolina in preparation for the new rules, there has been much speculation about whether lenders will shorten the six-day requirement by using methods of proof of delivery as an alternative to mail. This indication of an E-signature process would guessingsuggest that it may be possible to shorten the six-day delivery requirement with this particular lender. If other lenders follow suit, real estate professionals will be delighted that the waiting period can be shortened, at least under certain some circumstances.

I’m just guessing here (along with the rest of you), but I anticipate that the last quarter of 2015 may prove to be an interesting transition to our new normal, but after the first of the year, those of us who decide to remain in the closing “game” will have settled into a different, but manageable routine. Best of luck to all of you for getting through the next few months!  And remember, we will get through this together!

Still Need to Reach Out to Your Realtor® Partners About TRID?

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toolboxSome new tools are available!

Residential dirt lawyers may still need to reach out to their real estate agent partners to discuss how the CFPB rules will affect closings after October 3. Some new resources are available to assist in that effort.

I previously blogged about five things real estate agents should know before the new rules become effective. Now there is more useful information in a format that is easy to share.

On September 17, Richard Cordray, Director of the CFPB, met with an officer of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) to unveil online tools designated to help consumers and real estate professionals navigate the new closing procedures.

The CFPB had previously developed an array of online tools for prospective home buyers, the most important of which is an interactive resource called, “Your home loan tool kit, a step-by-step guide”. This guide allows consumers to perform calculations and obtain information to assist them in understanding their financial prospects for obtaining financing and avoiding pitfalls associated with the process.

The CFPB encourages real estate professionals to consider linking the toolkit on their websites to position themselves as trusted sources of information for consumers.  I encourage residential dirt lawyers to do the same to position themselves for their consumer clients.

Last week’s announcement included a new resource called “Guide for real estate professionals”, the goal of which is to “ensure smooth and on-time closings”.  I encourage real estate lawyers to use this new guide to connect with their real estate agent partners.  Link it on your website. Send the link to you best real estate agent contacts.  Offer to meet with them to answer questions. Your goal is to be perceived as a thought leader and problem solver when questions begin to surface after October 3rd.

we are here to helpSouth Carolina residential real estate lawyers should also keep in mind that their title insurance companies have prepared to assist in the transition. Don’t hesitate to use your title insurance company friends as valued resources. They are ready! Their goal, like yours, is to give their very best customer service as we all navigate these new closing rules together.

Another TRID Lender Announcement

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This one has an interesting twist.

US-Bank-Home-MortgageU.S. Bank Home Mortgage (USBHM) recently announced that it, like other large lenders, will prepare and deliver the Closing Disclosure and any necessary revisions to the consumer once the TRID rules become effective on October 3. Settlement agents (closing attorneys in South Carolina) will be responsible for the seller’s Closing Disclosure.

Here’s the twist: USBHM stated that it will only require TRID documents for loans subject to TRID, which would include most closed-end consumer credit transactions secured by real estate, for applications taken on or after October 3. Then it stated, “One exception to this is that USBHM will require TRID disclosures for properties that are title vested in an LLC.”

On its face, this statement would mean that commercial loans involving properties vested in LLCs would be subject to the new Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms. Since the name of this lender is U.S. Bank Home Mortgage, we can only assume this announcement means USBHM will consider any loan secured by residential property vested in a limited liability company to be a consumer loan. As an example, loan on a rental house (an investment property) titled in an LLC, would be subject to TRID rules, according to this lender. The announcement did not make a distinction between single- and multi-member LLCs.

The announcement indicated that USBHM will use various methods of delivery for the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure, including regular mail, electronic delivery and tracking through eLynx. (A quick look at eLynx’ website indicates this company provides a network for paperless document collaboration and distribution throughout the financial industry.)

USBHM indicated it will work with settlement agents to prepare the Closing Disclosure for delivery to the consumer, and that collaboration on the numbers will begin seven to ten days before the scheduled consummation date. The bank will continue to place the burden on settlement agents for the accuracy of the closing figures: “The settlement agent will continue to be responsible for ensuring that the Closing Disclosure provided at consummation is accurate to the terms agreed upon with USBHM.”

After the settlement agent and USBHM have agreed on the closing figures, USBHM will deliver the closing disclosure to the consumer and the settlement agent simultaneously through eLynx. The plan is to deliver the closing documents, including the final Closing Disclosure, to the settlement agent one day prior to closing.

surprised woman with bookLocally, we have been speculating that loan documents for various lenders will arrive ten minutes prior to closing despite the three-day rule for the Closing Disclosure. This announcement gives that speculation some credence. There is no requirement of early delivery of the closing documents to the closing attorney.

Locally, we have also been speculating that making changes to the closing figures will be difficult, particularly if the closing takes place outside of normal banking hours. This announcement provides some help by indicating that USBHM will have staff available for after-hours closings provided it has notice that a borrower will be signing outside normal business hours.

To read the entire announcement, follow this link.

FHA Settlement Certification Will Require Tweaking After October 3

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FHA answers a FAQ; it doesn’t officially change the certification

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) released a new settlement certification this summer in anticipation of the implementation of the TRID rules on October 3. The new certification is intended to replace FHA’s current addendum to the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and will be used for the new Closing Disclosures once the TRID rules become effective.

The new certification reads:

“To the best of my knowledge, the Closing Disclosure which I have prepared is a true and accurate account of the funds which were (i) received, or (ii) paid outside closing, and the funds received have been or will be disbursed by the undersigned as part of the settlement of this transaction. I further certify that I have obtained the above certifications which were executed by the borrower(s) and seller(s) as indicated.”

Please note that the new certification contains the language “which I have prepared”.  As we have all heard by now, many of the large lenders have indicated that settlement agents will not prepare the Closing Disclosures to be delivered to borrowers. Because of the perceived liability, several of the larger lenders have announced that they will prepare the deliver borrowers’ Closing Disclosures.

frustrated man paperworkSettlement agents (closing attorneys in South Carolina) will prepare and deliver sellers’ Closing Disclosures in all cases and will prepare the borrowers’ forms for the smaller lenders who are not taking the responsibility internally.

American Land Title Association reached out to FHA, the Mortgage Bankers Association and individual lenders to inform them that the new certification would be inaccurate in the cases where the lender prepares the Closing Disclosure.  FHA did not revise its certification, but, in connection with issuing an additional 120 new FAQs to its Single-Family Handbook Frequently Asked Questions, it answered the following question this month:

FAQ 347:

Q: “The Model Settlement Certification requires the Settlement Agent certifying that he or she has prepared the Closing Disclosure but the CFPB’s requirements for issuing the new TRID Closing Disclosure will make this unlikely to be the case. Should the Settlement Agent sign the form anyway?”

A: “FHA does not wish for anyone to make a false certification. Because this is a model component, FHA will accept the tailoring of this phrase to the actual circumstances. This if the Settlement Agent does not prepare the closing disclosure, he or she should remove or strike through the statement ‘which I have prepared’ before executing the Settlement Certification.

FHA is only providing this guidance through the FAQ. It is neither revising the certification nor clarifying the instructions on the certification itself.  As a result, closing attorneys will be required to educate their staff members about the necessity to revise the certification for FHA closings after the new rules take effect.