August 3, 2009

Federal Regulatory Update

Peter Birnbaum photo




Dear Fellow Attorney,

In the past I have requested your assistance in legislative matters of concern to real estate attorneys. This has been particularly true with the battle over proposed changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Regulations. I come to you once again to ask for assistance. The topic has not changed.

The new RESPA Rule, scheduled to be implemented in January 2010, represents a tremendous improvement over earlier iterations. However, it contains a provision that, if left unchecked, could facilitate lenders' attempts to take over the selection of settlement service providers and cause a catastrophic shift in the method by which title and settlement services are provided. A lender mandate of title service providers would undoubtedly result in higher prices to consumers and would be devastating to small law firms providing low cost and efficient services today.

HR 1728, The Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act, contains a provision that calls for the withdrawal of the new RESPA Rule. It passed the House on May 7, 2009, by a margin of 300 to 114. We thank The Honorable Judy Biggert, (R-Illinois) for her leadership on this effort. That bill now sits in the Senate. It is critical that we let our Senators know its importance and are asking for your support in relaying that message: 

  1. Review our sample letter and edit for your use. 
  2. Find your Senator's contact information using our Congressional Contacts webpage.
  3. Send your letter asap (before August 7) and please forward a copy to me at our Chicago office.

I plan to personally deliver those copies to Senators Durbin, Burris, Kohl, Feingold, Bayh, and Lugar later this summer.

Thank you for your continued support.

Peter J. Birnbaum

President and Chief Executive Officer