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The Washing Post, LA Times and other sources are reporting an increased account of the use of borrower loan “worksheets.” In an effort to avoid being bound by newly implemented RESPA (Real Estate Procedures Act) regulations governing real estate mortgage consumer Good Faith Estimates and Settlement Statements, some mortgage lenders have been providing potential borrowers with worksheets that estimate what their loan might cost. These “worksheets” are completely unregulated and were not at all anticipated under the recent RESPA reform.

The loan scenario-forms/worksheets have no requirement for accuracy and loan officers are not bound by any sort of disclosure. Ultimately, the lender still must provide a regulatory Good Faith Estimate and the Settlement Statement (HUD Form 1) must conform to it, but right now the average consumer is not aware of that fact. Once the loan shopper is “satisfied” with what was “disclosed” on the worksheet, and only days before closing, the consumer is presented with the obligatory GFE.

Loan officers and lenders claim the worksheets are necessary to remain competitive and that the new regulation is too strict to be a practical benefit to the consumer. The regulatory demand for 90% accuracy is overbearing say some mortgage professionals.

A HUD official said that they will continue to monitor the practice and update the reform accordingly.

In the mean time mortgage shoppers should be certain that they are working with experienced, trustworthy lenders and loan officers.  If you need the name of a local trustworthy loan officer – call me anytime and I will introduce you to one of my finest lender clients.