In The Public Interest: Consumers, Know Before You Owe: Help CFPB Develop New Mortgage Forms

05/19/2011 06:33 pm ET | Updated Jul 19, 2011

Calling all consumers! The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) wants to hear from you. The CFPB has rolled out two alternative, two-page mortgage disclosure forms to replace longer, unclear documents in current use. The forms are preliminary, and the CFPB wants your help to make them better.

You can go to this blog by CFPB mortgage expert Patricia McCoy that explains the project. Or, you can go directly to the "Know Before You Owe" consumer tool to let CFPB know which of the proposals you like better (or which parts of each you like more).

These particular tools will be available for review for about 10 days. Then, the CFPB will refine them and do some consumer testing around the country. This project is part of an ongoing CFPB process to test both new disclosures and new regulatory approaches.

When PIRG got a sneak peek yesterday, over at the CFPB, it was obvious that the preliminary 2-page mortgage disclosures capture the critical information consumers need to understand and compare housing financing costs, both at closing and over the life of the loan.

But, more importantly, this early rollout process shows that the new bureau is coming up with fresh ideas, not only about making disclosures better, but about making the regulatory process better for both buyers and sellers. That can only help make financial markets work better. Yet, despite their pioneering effort and the fact that the industry has been consulted in the process, some bankers are already criticizing CFPB's preliminary effort to make a bad system better.

Of course, these are the same guys who rolled out the dangerous, predatory, confusing mortgages that led to the collapse of the financial system in the first place, even if they refuse to take responsibility.

Forget them. Go directly to the "Know Before You Owe" consumer tool to help the CFPB make mortgage forms easier to understand, so the next time you buy a house or refinance your home, you will understand the paperwork better, because you and other consumers helped to write it.