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Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Elizabeth Warren, assistant to the president and special advisor to the treasury secretary, hosted a forum Sept. 21 to "seek input on the simplification of mortgage disclosure forms," according to a news release from the Treasury Department.
One of the tasks of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is to combine two overlapping mortgage disclosure forms required of lenders by the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the CFPB is required to present a consolidated form by July 2012.
Warren pointed out the need for simplified disclosure rules, noting that consumers often become aware of restrictions too late.
"Too often, families come to understand the legalese only when they get bitten by it," she said in the Treasury statement. "Streamlined disclosure can level the playing field and give families better tools to make better choices."
Tuesday's forum gathered consumer advocacy groups, housing counselors, financial literacy experts and mortgage companies to garner ideas on how to streamline and consolidate the disclosure forms. The CFPB will work with the Federal Reserve to coordinate their proposals with other requirements under the financial reform legislation.
Geithner noted that the CFPB is moving quickly to implement the financial reform legislation's requirements ahead of deadlines.
"Moving quickly to improve mortgage disclosures is one in a series of concrete steps we're taking to implement the historic consumer protections included in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law," Geithner said in a news release. "Simplifying these forms is a prime example of where we can and will accelerate our efforts to deliver real benefits to consumers as soon as possible."