Optimal Blue clients, and everyone else for that matter, have 3 ½ months left until August 1st, and at this point anyone and everyone in the residential lending business knows what that date signifies. Asking lenders what exactly is happening can result in a hodgepodge of information. So let’s take a step back and review the GFE and its purpose.
To better comprehend the upcoming TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure changes it’s important to understand the context of the Good Faith Estimate, which will be replaced by the new Loan Estimate in August. When a loan originator takes an application and prepares the Good Faith Estimate (GFE), lenders are required to disclose all fees to the applicant within 72 hours of an application in order to help consumers compare rates and fees among other lenders.
The lender is also bound by the quote in order to prevent any last minute changes to the price of the loan. The borrowers receive the fees in the form of a three page document called the Good Faith Estimate (GFE). The GFE is published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and outlines the closing costs and fees associated with a mortgage loan and is valid for ten days. Final loan costs must be within ten percent of the costs shown on the original GFE, so it has to be accurate.
The GFE includes a summary of the loan to include the loan amount, term of the loan and initial monthly payment. It also includes escrow account information, pro-rated annual property tax and homeowner’s insurance costs and the estimated loan costs, including lender fees, title fees and third-party costs.
Multiple dates are listed on the GFE since the terms do not last indefinitely. The GFE lists the number of days of the rate lock and the lender does not have to honor the rate if the loan does not close within the expected timeframe.
The subsequent section of the GFE is the summary of the loan and escrow account information. This section details whether or not the loan is a fixed-rate, adjustable-rate or balloon loan and includes the initial loan amount being borrowed, loan term designated in years, interest rate and initial monthly principal and interest payment. This section also provides notes on whether or not the interest can rise, whether the loan balance can rise, whether the monthly payment can rise and whether the loan has a prepayment penalty.
The escrow account information in this section includes how real estate taxes and homeowners insurance will be paid. The summary of settlement charges is included on the bottom of the first page of the GFE which summarizes the loan changes that can be found on the second page.
The second page of the GFE entails the adjusted origination charge which encompasses lender-charged fees, processing fees, underwriting fees, other fees and any loan discount point for a lower rate. Other settlement service charges are located on the remaining sections on the second page of the GFE such as the cost of services the lender chooses, cost of title search and title insurance, cost of recording fees and homeowners insurance, as well as the cost of pre-populating escrow account for taxes and insurance and per diem interest charges.
Finally, the last page of the GFE is to help consumers understand the document and “get more” from the GFE experience. It provides instructions on how to read the Good Faith Estimate and how to compare home loan options from other competing lenders. The very top of the last page includes the scenarios where a fee can change. These fees include the initial escrow deposit and daily interest charges and the cost of any services the borrower selects. The “Trade-Off-Table” is also included on the last page of the GFE and helps consumers choose between loans with high costs and low costs and can compare closing cost options.
Borrowers can then use the “Shopping Cart” to compare mortgages side by side, either by the same lender or from different companies. The upcoming TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure changes will undoubtedly alter the look of the GFE but the overall guidelines and information included on the document will generally remain the same.