"The rules update requirements of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, known as Respa, a 1974 law that sets standards for home-purchase transactions. HUD Secretary Steve Preston said changes were needed because "many people made uninformed decisions" in taking out loans. That, he said, contributed to a surge in mortgage defaults.
HUD, which pushed ahead with the rules despite opposition from lenders and others involved in mortgage transactions, estimated the changes will bring savings of nearly $700 in loan-closing costs for the typical consumer.
In a news conference, HUD officials conceded they lack legal authority to penalize violators of the rule. Legislation would be required to give HUD those powers. But they said state and federal regulators of lenders and brokers can insist on compliance with federal rules and that the threat of class-action suits may keep lenders in line."