BB&T Follows the Lead of Other Large Lenders

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It will produce and deliver Closing Disclosures

BB&T logo 2BB&T announced on May 26 that it will be responsible for completing and delivering borrowers’ Closing Disclosures after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) TILA-RESPA Integrated Mortgage Disclosures (TRID) rule becomes effective on August 1.

By making this announcement, BB&T joins Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, SunTrust and Freedom Mortgage in removing the responsibility for preparing the borrower’s settlement statement from the hands of settlement agents (closing attorneys in South Carolina). Closing attorneys will prepare the seller’s CD as well as other forms necessary for disbursement. It is clear that the borrower’s CD will not contain sufficient information for disbursement, which will continue to be the responsibility of the closing attorney.

Like the other lenders, BB&T confirmed in its announcement that it will continue to work with closing attorneys to determine the fees and other information required for the Closing Disclosure.

stay tunedBB&T also announced, like several other large lenders, that it will use the web-based portal, Closing Insight™, to gather the information and data required to complete the CD. Closing attorneys were encouraged to register with Closing Insight™ immediately.

BB&T promised to provide further communications and training to settlement agents prior to August 1.

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Five things lenders need to know before August

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Dirt lawyers: Educate your lender contacts!

Our company has developed resources to equip dirt lawyers to educate lenders 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 lenders are prepared.

As we have traveled the Palmetto state talking to lawyers, real estate agents and lenders, we have learned that many of the local folks are not familiar with the new rules, even the significant players in the market. We understand the corporate offices of national lenders may not have pushed this information down to the local level at this point. Any lawyer who will provide valuable information to local contacts now will be perceived as an important partner!

This is a primer, a very basic beginning point. As the software companies complete their updates, everyone involved will be trained on the details of the new rule and forms.  For now, let’s give our lender partners the following information:

1 flapWho will be responsible for preparing the Closing Disclosure? The lender will be ultimately responsible for preparing the CD (the document that replaces the HUD-1 and final TIL Disclosure). Four national lenders, Bank of America, CitiBank, Wells Fargo and Chase, have announced that they will prepare the CD. We anticipate that smaller banks may continue to rely on closing attorneys to prepare this important document. Closing attorneys will be responsible for preparing the seller’s side of the CD in all cases.

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Who will be responsible for delivering the Closing Disclosure? The rule requires that the borrower must receive the CD three days prior to closing. This actually translates to delivery six days prior to closing to accommodate transit time. The rule allows the closing attorney, at the lender’s discretion, to deliver the CD. The four banks who have announced that they will prepare the CD will also deliver it.

Closing Disclosure Delivery Timeline Chart

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How will closing attorneys and lenders communicate information contained in their respective systems? The big banks will most likely use some form of electronic communication. Some have already announced that they will use Real EC’s Closing Insight™ Most closing attorneys will work with settlement software companies (such as SoftPro) to connect with these systems. Regardless, information will have to be exchanged earlier to accommodate the delivery requirements of the CD.  Some experts have predicted that the numbers will have to be exchanged between lawyers and lenders no later than ten days prior to closing.

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Who will make changes to the CD? Changes to the CD may occur prior to closing, necessitating adjustments, re-printing, and delivery of the corrected CD at closing. Lenders and lawyers will have to discuss who will make the pre-closing changes. Changes to the settlement numbers on the CD may also occur after closing, requiring preparation and delivery of a revised CD. For example, if recording fees change, the CD will have to be revised. Previously, lawyers had the responsibility for these post-closing changes. Under the new rule, the lenders have primary responsibility, but they may delegate this responsibility to closing attorneys.

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How will closing attorneys communicate title and settlement fees for use in the new forms? Lenders will continue to need accurate estimates of title and settlement fees for the preparation of the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure. In addition, for transactions in which an owner’s policy will be issued, the rule prescribes special mathematical calculations for the disclosure of the owner’s and lender’s title insurance premiums, which may require receipt of rates for both a stand-alone and simultaneously issued lender’s policy, as well as the owner’s policy rate.

Good luck educating your referral sources!

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!

Homeowners Win U.S. Supreme Court Mortgage Rescission Case

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money puzzleThe Court holds borrowers must only notify the lender, not sue, within three years

Larry and Cheryle Jesinoski refinanced their home in Eagan, Minnesota on February 23, 2007, by borrowing $611,000 from Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. The borrowers received a Truth-in-Lending Act (“TILA”) disclosure and a Notice of Right to Cancel at the closing.

TILA allows a borrower to rescind a refinance loan on the borrower’s home within three days of the transaction, or until the lender has delivered the required number of disclosures. But there is a three-year time limit even if the lender still hasn’t provided the necessary loan disclosure documents.

Exactly three years after the closing, the Jesinoskis sent theright to cancel lender written notice that they wanted to rescind, saying they hadn’t received the required number of copies of the notice. The property was underwater at the time. The lender refused to cancel the mortgage, and the Jesinoskis sued.

On January 13, 2015, the Court ruled unanimously in an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, that the borrowers need only notify the lender of the intent to rescind. The Court rejected the lender’s position that the borrower must take the additional step of filing suit within three years.

This issue is one that has arisen frequently in recent years with borrowers who are in default and facing foreclosure, and this case settles a split in lower courts over steps borrowers must take within the time limit.

house parachuteThe lending industry had supported the lender in this case, indicating the Jesinoskis’ position could cloud titles to properties and require lenders to sue borrowers instead of trying to work with them. Consumer groups had supported the Minnesota couple, indicating the right to rescind is an important protection for consumers against abusive lending practices.

The case was remanded to the Eighth Circuit for further proceedings. The ruling does not mean the borrowers will escape paying their mortgage, but this lawsuit has delayed the inevitable for many years. It is possible that the property is no longer underwater and that the borrowers may be able to refinance in this improving economy.

Don’t Expect Uniform Closing Procedures in 2015

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And … Bank of America makes a big announcement.

changes comingLenders will not collaborate on a standard and consistent process for closings under the new CFPB rules effective August 1, 2015, at least not according to Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo’s December 10, 2014 Settlement Agent Communication answered nine FAQs from settlement agents, the first of which sought confirmation on whether to expect standard closing procedures from lenders. Wells responded with a “no,” and stated that each lender is accountable and must determine its own method for achieving compliance.

This mega lender had announced on September 24 that it will control the generation and delivery of the buyer/borrower Closing Disclosure (“CD”), the form that will replace the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. The stated rationale was that the new CD is governed by the Truth-in-Lending Act (“TILA”), not the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and the risks and penalties for lenders are more severe under TILA.

Bank of America announced on December 17 that it will follow suit by generating and delivering the buyer/borrower CD.  Both banks have indicated settlement agents will generate the seller’s CD. Other lenders have not announced whether they will follow this procedure. It is entirely possible that settlement agents (closing attorneys in South Carolina) will prepare the CDs for other lenders.

The December 10 memo did state that Wells will work closely with settlement agents to determine fees, prorations, and other content required for the CD and, importantly, Wells will not assume the responsibility for disbursing loans. This quote from the Communication provides some comfort with regard to Wells’ attitude about keeping local settlement agents involved in the closing process:

“The settlement agent is critical and continues to be responsible for executing the closing including document signing, notarization, disbursement of funds, document recordation and delivery of final documents post-closing.”

Also comforting was the promise of training plans for settlement agents in collaboration with American Land Title Association, title underwriters and other service providers. The plans are said to include many educational communications and an information guide.

Bank of America stated that it will use Closing Insight™, an industry tool developed by Real EC Technologies®. All documents, date and information will be exchanged through Closing Insight™, discontinuing the use of e-mail, fax and other document delivery methods.

Bank of America also indicated that the requirement for the buyer/borrower to receive the CD three business days prior to closing will intensify the need for the bank to work very closely with the settlement agent to schedule the details of the closing.

stay tunedFor more information about Real EC ® Technologies and Closing Insight™, Bank of America invited settlement agents to visit their website at www.bkfs.com/realec.  The December 17 memo indicated that many title and escrow production systems are working with RealEC® Technologies to enhance current integrations in support of Closing Insight™. The bank suggested that settlement agents reach out to their title and escrow production system provider directly.

Stay tuned!

Lions, and Tigers and Seller Financing, Oh My!

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If you are closing seller financed transactions on primary residences including contracts for deed (hereafter referred to as seller financing), or if you have clients who are accepting seller financing, you should take the time to educate yourself and your clients on the current pitfalls.  Please refer to Martha McConnell’s excellent article entitled Seller Financing – the New ‘Jabberwocky’!” in the Summer 2014 issue of Chicago Record Title for a detailed report on what has led to this serious concern.

lions1 Because it is a complicated issue, I am not sure I can express a bottom line in any kind of succinct manner, but I will attempt to do so here.

The CFPB has been given the power to supervise and regulate laws that impact seller financing, including the SAFE Act, TILA, the Ability to Repay and Qualified Mortgage Rule, HOEPA and the Loan Originator Rule.

Under the applicable federal rules, it is possible that sellers engaging in seller financing may have to become licensed as “loan originators” or “mortgage brokers”.  The loans may have to be fully amortized, and it is possible that these seller/lenders may have to make determinations and disclosures that have not previously been required. Certain exclusions are available, but the rules are complex and detailed, and should be handled with care.

Inconsistencies between the federal and state versions of the SAFE Act, both of which require licensing and registration of loan originators, is another area of concern.

Clients who fail to become licensed or to fall into an exclusion may find they are unable to foreclose, and may, along with the attorneys who closed the transactions and the title policies that insured them, be subject to claims and litigation. In addition, the CFPB has broad enforcement powers including the power to impose civil monetary penalties ranging from $5,000 to $1 million per day.

This is an area of the law that is going to require monitoring and thought in the coming months. Legislation in South Carolina to address the inconsistencies in our version of the SAFE Act may be one avenue for improvement. In the meantime, please take great care if you or your clients venture into seller financing.