McLEAN, Va. - The National Association of Mortgage Brokers says it will make comprehensive mortgage reform the centerpiece of its legislative agenda this year.
Specifically, NAMB president Neill Fendly said Congress should scrap the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and the Truth in Lending Act, federal laws that were intended to protect consumers from abusive lending practices but that he says have overcomplicated the mortgage process.
"It's not going to be easy, but we've reached the point where we need to throw them out and put in something focused on what borrowers and businesses need today," Mr. Fendly said of the acts.
The procedures act requires that borrowers get "good-faith estimates" of closing costs; prohibits kickbacks for referrals; and standardizes closing forms and formats. The Truth in Lending Act requires that borrowers be given a written statement verifying details including the annual percentage rate on a loan. It also requires that consumers be given three days to rescind the contract.
In place of the current legislation, Mr. Fendly is calling for laws that reflect how quickly business is done in the information age. He said he hopes new laws would also remove extraneous paperwork required to obtain a mortgage and simplify the information given to borrowers.
NAMB officials said the group's leadership has been meeting with people from the House and Senate Banking Committees and that it feels the climate is favorable for mortgage reform legislation in the 107th Congress. Mr. Fendly said the association hopes to work with Sen. Phil Gramm, R.-Tex., on the issue.