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Why consumer protection regulation is necessary — but often useless

No one was more shocked than I was at the fast closing. Yes, my time to close was lightning-fast compared to the 44 days that Ellie Mae pegs as the average time to close, but that was only one factor in when I looked at lenders. Which brings me to the part about regulations being both necessary but also sometimes completely useless as written, and that brings me to TRID. Like me, most homeowners are shopping lenders before they even know their property address, so what they are comparing are pre-approvals, not loan estimates. Lenders are not bound by the terms of pre-approval letters and therefore comparing them is not helpful. The thought of starting over at that point with another lender was extremely unappealing. If the whole point was for consumers to shop around for terms and rates once they had the loan estimate, that’s a total non-starter in many housing markets today. And if the secondary goal was for consumers to try to get a better deal on their own from title and settlement companies once they have the closing disclosure with the fees outlined, it demonstrates not only a failure to understand the way buying a house actually works, but even how human beings actually work. Three days away from closing I would have paid more money in closing costs if it made the process easier or quicker — I was not looking to add another item to my to-do list. The updates from regulators provided some clarity on areas lenders were concerned about, but the fact remains that five years after issuing the rule and almost three years after requiring implementation, lenders are still having to figure out what the bureau meant in the first place.