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CFPB Finalizes “Know Before You Owe” Mortgage Forms

Mon, Dec 9, 2013

Washington, District Of Columbia

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a rule requiring easier-to-use mortgage disclosure forms that clearly lay out the terms of a mortgage for a homebuyer. The new "Know Before You Owe" mortgage forms will replace the existing federal disclosures and help consumers understand their options, choose the deal that's best for them, and avoid costly surprises at the closing table.

"Taking out a mortgage is one of the biggest financial decisions a consumer will ever make. Our new 'Know Before You Owe' mortgage forms improve consumer understanding, aid comparison shopping, and help prevent closing table surprises for consumers," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "Today's rule is an important step toward the consumer having greater control over the mortgage loan process."

For more than 30 years, federal law has generally required that within three business days after receiving a mortgage application, mortgage lenders must deliver two different, overlapping disclosures to consumers. At the closing stage, federal law again generally requires two forms. All of these forms contain duplicative and sometimes confusing information. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act recognized the need to simplify and streamline this information for consumers and transferred responsibility for the forms to the CFPB.

Today's final rule requires that lenders use the CFPB's new disclosures, puts in place rules about when the new forms are given to the consumer, and limits how the final deal can change from the original loan estimate. The forms are available in English and Spanish.

The Loan Estimate: This form will be provided to consumers within three business days after they submit a loan application. It replaces the early Truth in Lending statement and the Good Faith Estimate, and provides a summary of the key loan terms and estimated loan and closing costs. Consumers can use this new form to compare the costs and features of different loans.

The Closing Disclosure: Consumers will receive this form three business days before closing on a loan. It replaces the final Truth in Lending statement and the HUD-1 settlement statement, and provides a detailed accounting of the transaction.

The CFPB conducted more than two years of extensive research, testing, and review to find out how to create mortgage disclosures that do what the law intended them to do: disclose information in a way that consumers can understand. A good disclosure helps consumers know if they want to commit to the loan being offered, and it enables them to make meaningful comparisons between loan products for better shopping. The Bureau received feedback from consumer testing, through the Bureau's website, from a small business review panel, through public comments on the proposed rule, and from other supplemental outreach.

Source: CFPB