The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a final rule on Wednesday that merged mortgage disclosure forms in an effort to help consumers better understand the total costs of a loan.

According to the CFPB, the rule restricts lenders from imposing new or higher fees on a final loan unless there is a legitimate reason.

"Our new 'Know Before You Owe' mortgage forms improve consumer understanding, aid comparison shopping, and help prevent closing table surprises for consumers," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a press release. "Today's rule is an important step toward the consumer having greater control over the mortgage loan process."

The Dodd-Frank Act required regulators to meld the forms required by the Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The Federal Reserve Board initially began work on the project before the agency assumed responsibility for mortgage disclosures and launched a two-year initiative to combine the forms.

The final rule takes effect on Aug. 1, 2015, giving mortgage lenders time to implement the changes.

For the full piece see "CFPB Releases Final Rule on Mortgage Disclosure Forms" (may require subscription).