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ICBA Applauds Decision to Withdraw Proposed RESPA Amendments

Washington, D.C. (March 23, 2004) - The Independent Community Bankers of America, the nation's leading voice for community banks, applauds the decision by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to withdraw its proposed RESPA rule amendments from the Office of Management and Budget's review and to seek additional public comment.

A key component of the proposed rule was the introduction of a "guaranteed mortgage package" of settlement services and a loan with a guaranteed interest rate that would provide a safe harbor from the RESPA Section 8 prohibition on kickbacks and referral fees.

"ICBA supports simplifying the mortgage loan process and better enabling consumers to shop for the best mortgage for their situation," said Camden R. Fine, ICBA's president and CEO. "However, HUD's proposed rule would likely dramatically reduce the options and service of mortgage shoppers while increasing their costs. We have strongly opposed the rule because of the damage it would do to consumers, the mortgage finance system and the small loan originators and small settlement-service providers that participate in it."