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If you’re a part of the mortgage industry right now (especially on the settlement services side), you’re aware that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed yet another “simplification” to the HUD-1, somehow incorporating the Truth in Lending statement.  I’m not a title attorney, but even I know that you may want to consult with one or get up to speed quickly if this is the first you’ve heard of the proposal.  Big change (think about the last form change, and now add teeth to it) is coming.  Again.

I’ve blogged about this before, but it’s beyond time for our industry to reach out to the consumer.  Whether or not you believe the CFPB put its 1,000 page opus of a proposal together before or after taking in industry “feedback,” its clear that industry concerns weren’t at the top of the list of priorities.  I wouldn’t expect that to change any time soon.

Kudos to the ALTAs, MBAs and other trade organizations doing their best to protect the businesses of our industry.  But the fact remains that few, if any, not in the industry (especially the settlement services industry) understand anything about it.  We can lobby all we wish, but our industry will never have the clout it needs until the Man in the Street (and I most definitely mean “Main Street”) has some idea of what our industry is about, and what good it brings to our society.  Until then, we will all be lumped in with the bad actors.

For all those who have been asking for decades why our industry, especially on the settlement services side, needs to explain what it does to the general public (“I get my sales from Realtors or loan officers…”), this new form proposal may just be the resounding answer.

It’s time to start explaining to the public what we do every day, and why they should care.  We should paint a picture of what our housing industry would look like without some of the services we provide every day.  We should do it at a one-on-one level, and on a grand level.

But whatever we do, we are late to the game.  Until Main Street understands more about the industry, we can shout at the regulators as much as we want.  They won’t hear us.  They’ll be too busy listening to (or speaking to) the consumer.