HUD urged interested organizations to file written comments beforehand as well as prepare to speak out Aug. 6 at a hearing to study four disputed parts of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

In a Federal Register notice issued July 6, the agency sought comments on a quarter of issues:

* whether employer's payments to employees for referrals benefit or harm consumers;

* whether payments for computerized loan origination services should come from the borrower;

* whether the HUD secretary should establish standards to evaluate whether relevant provisions in state laws give consumers greater protection than Respa does, and thus shouldn't be overriden; and

* whether Respa standards on controlled business disclosures need to be improved to protect consumers.

The real estate and mortgage banking industries have clashed over the Respa provisions, which HUD published in November 1992. Mortgage bankers have filed legal challenges to the provisions and maintain in general that the act undermines the mortgage lending process and actually could increase the cost of getting money to buy a home.

Comments should reach HUD by Aug. 5. They should be sent to: William J. Reid. Room 8218, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th St. SW, Washington, D.C. 20410.

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