Definition of "RESPA"

Kevin Greer
  KEG Realtors

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, a federal consumer protection statute first
enacted in 1974. RESPA was designed to protect home purchasers and owners shopping for settlement
services by mandating certain disclosures and prohibiting referral fees and kickbacks.
Current Disclosure Requirements: Different disclosure rules kick in at different stages of the
home-buying or borrowing process. At Time of Loan Application: Within three business days of receipt
of a loan application, the lender must provide the applicant with a Special Information Booklet which
describes the various real estate settlement services; a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of settlement
costs, which lists the estimated charges the borrower may have to pay at closing; and a Mortgage
Servicing Disclosure Statement, which discloses whether the lender intends to service the loan or
transfer it elsewhere. Before Closing: Before settlement service provider A refers an applicant to
service provider B, A must provide the applicant with an Affiliated Business Arrangement (AfBA)
Disclosure if A has an ownership or other beneficial interest in B. An applicant may request the
HUD-1 Settlement Statement, which shows all charges imposed on buyer /borrowers and sellers, one day
before settlement. At Settlement: The borrower receives the final HUD-1 Settlement Statement at
settlement and an Initial Escrow Statement that itemizes the estimated taxes and insurance premiums
to be paid from the escrow account and the amounts to be paid into the account. After Settlement:
Borrowers must be provided with an Annual Escrow Statement which shows all inflows and outflows to
and from the escrow account, and the balances, during the year. If the firm servicing the loan
transfers the servicing to another firm, the borrower must be notified at least 15 days before the
effective date of the transfer. Loan Servicing Complaints: RESPA provides a complaint procedure for
borrowers who are being taken advantage of by the firm servicing their loan.

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