As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, March 2006.
The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and similar legislation can appear daunting to mortgage brokers. In fact, they can baffle service-providers throughout the home-buying and finance industry, too. That's partially why the Real Estate Service Providers Council (RESPRO) formed in 1992 -- to educate all industry professionals on regulatory issues and to form alliances across the industry. RESPRO Executive Director Susan Johnson tells us more.
What are RESPRO's goals? Our 275 corporate members represent a cross-section of the industry -- lenders, brokers, real estate broker-owners and other settlement-service providers.
We focus on issues that affect our core mission -- which is to create a regulatory environment that allows providers to offer their customers whatever services they need. We work with our members to help them comply with RESPA and other state and federal laws and regulations. We do this by offering audio seminars, a "RESPA Guide" and resources such as our new regulatory-compliance kit for affiliated businesses. We also educate members on marketplace trends and potential cross-marketing strategies at our conferences, in our quarterly RESPRO report and on our Web site.
How does the organization "unite providers across the home-buying and financing industry," as stated in your mission? Members often say that one of RESPRO's greatest benefits is that it gives them a broader perspective on public-policy issues. Our cross-industry membership believes in an open and competitive regulatory environment that treats all providers equally.
How does RESPRO represent members before policy-makers, especially with RESPA? We take the position that any RESPA-reform proposal needs to treat all providers equally, regardless of their industry or affiliation. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) 2002 RESPA rule included stipulations that seemed to favor the nation's largest lenders. After HUD neglected to make our recommended changes, RESPRO actively worked with various industry groups to convince HUD to withdraw its final rule.
How are your members active? The owners and managers of companies that make up our membership often are leaders in their communities. They tend to be active in community affairs, and they know their government representatives. This allows them to communicate their views to their representatives effectively. That's a real asset in any grassroots effort.
How do you hope to work with brokers in shaping the regulatory environment? Representatives of different segments of the industry should maintain open communication and dialogue. Maintaining continuous conversations with other trade associations -- such as the National Association of Mortgage Brokers and the Mortgage Bankers Association -- to talk about our mutual interests is always our goal. I think we could resolve a lot of issues together, especially in terms of RESPA reform.
Melinda Young is an associate editor at Scotsman Guide. Reach her at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.