Let's pretend that you have a really good friend that is a wonderful person but absolutely hates reading books. You've tried everything you can think of - Harry Potter, Bridges of Madison County, romance novels, John Grisham books etc. You've even tried 15 page "Myfirst Golden Book" books, 1 page pamphlets, Plasma Donor forms etc. Nothing matters. They aren't interested and they don't finish a single book that you recommend. If you were to then give this same person a copy of War and Peace to read, do you think it would be any different?
Obviously this is an exaggeration - someone that doesn't have any interest in reading as much as a menu at Denny's is certainly not going to want to read a monstrous (and depressing I might add) 1,000 page book written in 1865 about the lack of free will, Russian society in the mid to late 1800s etc etc.
And yet, that is exactly what consumers are being subjected to. The current laws in effect with the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), RESPA, Reg Z etc are sufficient. Anyone that has done a transaction in the last 6 months knows that the addition of HVCC and MDIA and any other Act that has an acronmyn associated with it is making for more red tape, more delays, more frustration. It's not helping.
I am sure that there will be a lot of people that disagree with me but here is my basic premise: let's get back to disclosing what is truly important. Let's give consumers an application, a Good Faith Estimate and a Truth in Lending statement prior to closing. Let's pass on all the superflous documents that in reality just protect the banks and do nothing for the consumer. And, let's have agencies step up and enforce the laws that are already in existence. We don't need new ones - we just need the current ones to actually be enforced. In addition, how many new agencies must we create and then dissolve before we realize that creating a new agency in and of itself is fruitless? New agencies aren't needed - instead, we need the current agencies to be given sufficient resources to do their jobs.
In addition to simplifying the disclosures provided prior to closing, let's simplify the disclosures and paperwork provided at closing too. At closing, let's give the consumer a finalized application, a Note confirming the terms they agreed to, a settlement statement and a Trust Deed. Can I hear an "amen" from my brothers and sisters in the escrow and title industry?
I honestly think that there is a much greater chance of consumers paying attention to what they sign if there is less for them to sign in the first place. If consumers don't read 25 pages worth of disclosures, adding another 14 is not going to change anything. And for those of you that are a fan of Leo Tolstoy, more power to you. I myself read the entire book and can't remember a word of what I read. The Plasma donor form; however, I've got that one down cold.
Now go out there and read a book