Members of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) were informed of HUD Secretary Mel Martinez’s proposal to reform the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act on the day it was announced. Kurt Pfotenhauer, MBA senior vice president, government affairs, shared the following comments.
“MBA has worked closely with senior officials at HUD and elsewhere to convey our industry’s views on this important issue.
HUD’s announced proposal is entirely consistent with MBA’s concept of mortgage reform.
In his speech, the Secretary described the current mortgage process as ‘full of mystery and frustration’ stating that the current complexity is due to a RESPA disclosure system that has not been fixed for decades. Mr. Martinez announced that his upcoming proposed rule will ‘fix the system’ by: simplifying disclosures; solidifying Good Faith Estimate cost disclosures; removing regulatory barriers to allow for increased competition and consumer choice.”
A copy of the July 28 HUD press release, “Martinez Announces Homebuyer Bill of Rights”can be found at HUD’s Web site: www.HUD.gov
ICC announces plan for consolidation of the nation’s certification services for code
The International Code Council (ICC) announced plans to consolidate the certification services offered by or on behalf of the Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), and Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc. (SBCCI). ICC plans to implement a single program under the auspices of the ICC that will replace the testing and certification services that are currently offered separately by ICC and its statutory members.
The goal of the ICC Certification Program is to ensure the public health and safety through a system that measures ongoing knowledge proficiency and professionalism within the profession, and to facilitate reciprocity and portability of credentials throughout the world.
The single program will build on ICC’s Certified Building Officials (CBO) certification which is a credential for demonstrating an individual’s expertise in administering a building department thereby protecting the public by regulating construction. The program will provide national and international recognition by offering one source for eligibility, testing and certification maintenance, as the Certified Building Official (CBO) program has done for decades.
While additional details describing the comprehensive nature of this future service will be developed in the coming months, an ICC certification task force with representation from BOCA, ICBO, and SBCCI agreed on several key points:
1. The single certification program will offer an assortment of options that are responsive to states, local jurisdictions and individual member needs. Categories will be discrete in the requirements for certification and represent code occupations within the code profession. ICC will begin issuing certifications based on the ICC exams by August 2002. Examinations offered by other venders and determined to be comparable will be recognized for a limited period of time.
2. Transition guidelines will ensure that existing statutory member certifications, which are considered to be current, will be accepted in the new program.
Individuals who have renewed/
maintained current certification under the BOCA National Codes, SBCCI Standard
Codes or ICBO Uniform Codes which have been determined to be equivalent to the corresponding ICC certificate will be brought into the program by January 2003. Certificates that are not considered equivalent to the ICC certificates will denote the “legacy code” that is the basis for the certification.
Individuals who have not maintained their certifications will be held in the ICC system as inactive. “Catch up” provisions, to be determined, will be available for six years. After six years, those certifications will be dropped from the database.
Individuals who have earned certi-fications under the International Codes in the last three years will renew their certifications when they expire and will receive ICC certificates. The renewals will be processed under ICC requirements to be developed covering continuing education, registration, and fees.
3. The certification program will be overseen by the ICC Board for International Professional Standards (BIPS), and its expert committees with input from user advisory groups.
4. An International Registry of Certified Professionals will be created and posted on ICC’s Web site. This will enable current certified professionals a means of obtaining reciprocity and recognition in jurisdictions across the country.
Communication with certification holders, members and other interested parties will be as prompt as possible and will be available in a variety of media and forums, based on a plan to be developed by the task force.