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Timothy Geithner, Elizabeth Warren promise to simplify mortgage paperwork

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is promising to move quickly to simplify the paperwork consumers receive when taking out a home mortgage.

Obama adviser Elizabeth Warren and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Tuesday that the administration is committed to implementing, as soon as possible, several consumer protections that are part of the sweeping overhaul of the financial system that Congress passed in the summer.

Geithner and Warren made the comments as part of a forum they held at the Treasury Department with a number of consumer advocacy groups, financial literacy counselors and representatives of the mortgage industry to receive input on ways to simplify mortgage disclosure forms.

"Whenever possible, we are committed to expediting completion of the law's requirements ahead of statutory deadlines," Geithner said. "Moving quickly to improve mortgage disclosures is one in a series of concrete steps we're taking."

One of the requirements of the new Dodd-Frank law is to combine and simplify two overlapping mortgage disclosure forms, one required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the other by the Federal Reserve.

Warren said that streamlining the disclosure process would give families better tools to make better choices when choosing financial products.

"This is particularly true in the mortgage market, where borrowers receive stacks of incomprehensible paperwork when they're looking for a loan," she said.

"Fine print obscures the cost of credit and makes it impossible for families to compare products."

The Treasury forum was the first event Warren has held since being selected by President Barack Obama last Friday to serve as the overseer of the effort to set up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by the new law.

Timothy Geithner, Elizabeth Warren promise to simplify mortgage paperwork 09/21/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 10:23pm]
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