Your Closings Will Be Delayed!

New Rules Require at Least a 7 Day Delay before Closing… and Maybe 10

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently stated “It is often said that a home is a family’s most important asset, and it is the Federal Reserve’s responsibility to see that borrowers receive the information they need to protect that asset.” On July 30th, 2009 new Truth in Lending Act requirements, otherwise known as Regulation Z, became effective.

The biggest impact of the new guidelines is that consumers will be required to receive a 7 business day delay as a cooling off period before they close on transactions after July 30th. There are a few other provisions that are worth noting (see Figure 1), but this is significant because typically mortgage lenders and banks could, if necessary, close a home loan within a few days or even hours. The 7 days is calculated from the date the Initial Disclosures are personally given or mailed to the consumer. It doesn’t depend upon receipt.

As you know, a consumer must receive a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and Truth in Lending (TIL) Disclosure within 3 business days of a completed application. This provision will remain the same. What is new is the 3 day requirement when there are any changes to the initial Truth in Lending Disclosure. If the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) increases by more than 0.125% from the previously disclosed APR, then a new Truth in Lending Disclosure (TIL) must be provided to the consumer AND the loan cannot close until 3 business days after the re-disclosure is received (with acknowledgment of receipt) by the consumer. In short, if the APR on a loan changes then the consumer can’t close on that loan until they’ve had an additional 3 day delay. According to Calvin C. Mann, a Partner with Black, Mann & Graham, L.L.P., you can expect this delay on most transactions which will put the total waiting period at 10 business days. Incidentally, business days include all days except Sundays and federal holidays.

The only other major point regarding these new provisions is that no upfront fees, other than reasonable credit report fees, can be charged to a consumer until after they’ve received the Initial Disclosures which is expected to reduce the amount of “bait-and-switch” type loans previously offered.

Here is a chart that I think will help and can be used for quick reference.

Figure 1:

Initial Disclosures

3 days from application

This requirement is currently in place

Cooling Off Period

7 day waiting period

Starts after the initial disclosures before the loan can close are sent to the consumer

Changes to the APR

3 day waiting period

The consumer must acknowledge before the loan can close receipt or add 3 more days

This may not be all that bad. With HVCC time delays running havoc on many transactions this new 7 day cooling off period and 3 day APR delay could allow buyers to work with less mortgage distractions during the contract Option Period and allow time for the appraisals to come back. Of course, consumers who purchase with cash, purchase commercial properties or use certain hard money loans may be exempt from this. This isn’t the end of the changes and it’s expected that additional changes will be here in the coming months. Stay tuned…s

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