We continually hear about the importance of the “Settlement Service Provider” in originating residential mortgage loans. But it seems sometimes that almost everybody involved in a loan transaction is such a company. Is there a list that we can go by to determine who is and who is not a Settlement Service Provider?
There is a list of sorts, in RESPA, but it is not meant to be exhaustive. RESPA provides quite a broad definition of a settlement service, starting with the meaning of a “Settlement Service.” That is, whoever provides a settlement service is obviously a settlement service provider. With regards to your language of “loan transaction,” in context, this is a process, called a “settlement,” or a “closing,” or “escrow,” that has procedures for executing legally binding documents relating to a lien on a property that is subject to a federally related mortgage loan.
Any provider of a settlement service is, mutatis mutandis, a settlement service provider. The following list is a guide, certainly not meant to be exclusive, that forms a basis for RESPA’s broad way of defining a settlement service. [24 CFR § 3500.2(b)]
- Origination of a federally related mortgage loan (including, but not limited to, the taking of loan applications, loan processing, and the underwriting and funding of such loans);
- Rendering of services by a mortgage broker (including counseling, taking of applications, obtaining verifications and appraisals, and other loan processing and origination services, and communicating with the borrower and lender);
- Provision of any services related to the origination, processing or funding of a federally related mortgage loan;
- Provision of title services, including title searches, title examinations, abstract preparation, insurability determinations, and the issuance of title commitments and title insurance policies;
- Rendering of services by an attorney;
- Preparation of documents, including notarization, delivery, and recordation;
- Rendering of credit reports and appraisals;
- Rendering of inspections, including inspections required by applicable law or any inspections required by the sales contract or mortgage documents prior to transfer of title;
- Conducting of settlement by a settlement agent and any related services;
- Provision of services involving mortgage insurance;
- Provision of services involving hazard, flood, or other casualty insurance or homeowner's warranties;
- Provision of services involving mortgage life, disability, or similar insurance designed to pay a mortgage loan upon disability or death of a borrower, but only if such insurance is required by the lender as a condition of the loan;
- Provision of services involving real property taxes or any other assessments or charges on the real property;
- Rendering of services by a real estate agent or real estate broker; and
- Provision of any other services for which a settlement service provider requires a borrower or seller to pay.
President & Managing Director
Lenders Compliance Group