Critics Blast Plan To Consolidate R.E. Costs

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Mortgage lenders slammed proposed amendments to the real estate settlement process aimed at lowering and consolidating settlement costs after a congressional hearing on the proposals last week. The Independent Community Bankers of America called the proposals to amend the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA, akin to making mortgage lenders "HMOs," and Realtors also were opposed. The amendments, proposed by HUD would allow lenders to consolidate the myriad charges associated with a mortgage into a single fee and provide borrowers a more definite estimate of costs before closing. The rule would require lenders to offer a single price for processing the mortgage, including appraisals and title insurance, or to stick more closely to initial estimates.

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