Picking up crumbs.

Author:Morse, Neil J.
Position:On the Road

JOSEPH KOLAR, A PARTNER WITH THE WASHington, D.C., law firm of Goodwin Procter LLP, calls the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RE SPA) reform proposals were extremely broad in scope. Speaking at the Mortgage Bankers Association of America's (MBA's) Legal Issues in Mortgage Technology conference last December in Miami Beach, Florida, Kolar said the new regulations would give lenders considerable control over the services needed to "manufacture" a loan. Kolar predicts that HUD will issue final RESPA regulations.

Grant Mitchell, regarded by some as a "father of RESPA" for his work on the initial law 29 years ago at HUD, said the new rules would give rise to the creation of more vendor-management companies. Mitchell currently is an attorney working with Reed Smith Shaw & McClay, LLP, Washington, D.C.

Another speaker at the Legal Issues conference was attorney R. David Whitaker, a frequent figure on panels considering the legal ramifications of electronic mortgages. Whitaker, also a Goodwin Procter attorney, was asked whether "signatures," per se, might become obsolete someday in the new world of eye-scans, identity theft and homeland security. A signature, he replied in fine legalese, "is [simply] a 'process ceremony.' It represents the signer saying, 'I manifest my intent; it is an assent to be bound."' That's why new rules now being developed for e-signatures are essentially an effort to transfer existing legal understandings of traditional signings to the world of electronic commerce, according to Whitaker.

Gary Clark, chief information officer, IndyMac Bank, Pasadena, California, says economic realities in the mortgage business put continual pressure on companies to enhance their processes and technology. "In the mortgage business, our margins are crumbs and we have to pick those crumbs up as best we can. Sometimes that's a challenge," asserted Clark, a keynote speaker in January at the 6th Annual Mortgage Technology Conference in Miami, sponsored by mortgage publications group Thomson Media, New York.

Academics love creating acronyms (as do many business types). One frequently heard, three-letter reference, "CRM," stands for customer relationship management, which codifies how a company attracts new customers and keeps those it already has. At the Mortgage Technology Conference, Kathleen Khirallah, senior research analyst in CRM analytics for the research firm TowerGroup, Needham...

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