Many things changed in the U.S. economy after the market crash a few years ago. One was the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act, the new government agency’s stated goal is to focus on fairness and transparency in many types of consumer financial products and services.
The economic downturn and subsequent formation of the CFPB have made a particularly large impact on the real estate industry. CFPB’s proposed regulations will alter the way we do business in both the short and long term. While the bureau continues to solicit feedback from industry professionals on the details and implementation, we can expect changes in lenders’ current transaction documents, tolerance levels, annual percentage rates (APR), recordkeeping and the impact on our part of the real estate transaction. All of these changes are intended to simplify the process for consumers, help regulators keep an eye on transactions and bring transparency to the consumer real estate process.
While official regulation has not been finalized yet, it is expected to be out soon, at which time the industry will have roughly 12 – 18 months to fully implement the changes. In preparation for the final CFPB rules, Stewart is keeping an ear to the ground and sharing insights with our customers, independent issuing agencies and other stakeholders. Collaboration and communication is key. These regulations will change the real estate services industry, and we all need to be prepared.