CFPB’s RFI, FRBAR Contract Changes & More

Hello Members!

Hope your summer is going well. There are a lot of things to talk about this week, so I hope this information will be of interest to you.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I mentioned at Fund Assembly that CFPB "is back." It is now official. On May 30, 2024, CFPB issued its long-anticipated Request for Information (RFI) seeking input to understand why mortgage loan closing costs "are increasing, who is benefiting, and how costs for borrowers and lenders could be lowered." The CFPB cited cost for credit scores, credit reports and employment verification as examples. The bureau also mentions lender’s title insurance and in the RFI said “title insurance is one of the costliest settlement services at closing.” This is just wrong. The deadline for comments is early August of this year (quick turnaround!) and I am working with ALTA, FLTA and Members to formulate appropriate comments.

FRBAR contract changes. The FRBAR contract subcommittee of the greater Joint Committee has been hard at work. They are considering changes to the FRBAR contract to address closing services fees, new requirements for disclosure of documents for condos and HOAs, flood disclosures and broker commissions.  These changes should be finalized later this year - perhaps in September - so be on the lookout for them. I will keep you in the loop.

Advocacy efforts. I recently mailed a letter to all Fund Members, asking for your financial support of our political committee, TITL. Around 100 of you have responded (thanks!) but I need so many more of you to help. Please, please consider supporting TITL in an amount equal to your normal rate for one hour.  One hour. Your support, along with that of thousands of your fellow Fund Members, will have a significant impact on my ability to adequately and effectively represent you in Tallahassee. There is so much going on in our industry right now and this is an election year. We will have many new faces in Tallahassee and we need to establish relationships with those people. Here is a link for you to contribute online or to download a form to mail in with your check. Your help is so appreciated.

Flat fee recording.  I would like your feedback on the possibility of changing our recording fees (the per-page charge) and coming up with a flat fee for documents of a certain length (with additional fees for larger documents). This would make estimating costs easier, avoid last minute changes in a closing statement and reduce the number of small overage checks you send to buyers and sellers. For example, a document up to 25 pages might be $30 to record (plus documentary stamps, of course, if applicable). There are all kinds of models we could adopt so I would appreciate your thoughtful input. The threshold issue is whether you think this is worth the trouble, i.e., do you struggle with the per page charge that we have been living with for decades and would a change be good?  And think about how this would benefit buyers and sellers. Legislators are always interested in how their constituents would benefit from a change in the law.

That's all for this week. Let me know how we can help you.

Melissa Jay Murphy

Melissa Jay Murphy
Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer,
and General Counsel