Painting the Picture:
In theory, the new GFE was supposed to make things simpler for the borrower. In actuality, we went from a single page GFE that disclosed costs as well as credits and gave a bottom-line figure that was accurate if the loan officer did his job properly to a three page GFE that doesn't account for credits thereby not providing the client with a bottom-line number. Additionally, the new GFE has no signature line which means the loan officer can gloss over this form in favor of the other forms that now go with the new GFE such as the old GFE, now called the "Initial Fees Worksheet" - also no signature line - and the "Itemization of Amount Financed" which does have a signature line but does not show any credits.
In all, the situation is far more confusing and because of the tolerance standards and the need to quote worst-case scenario, the borrower doesn't necessarily get a more accurate figure and since the credits (if the seller or lender is paying any of the costs) do not show on the new GFE, the borrower doesn't get a true picture of what they will need to bring in at the close of escrow.
My guess is that if our lawmakers did consult with people in the industry (I'm guessing they did), it was people who haven't been on the front lines working with the forms and borrowers for a while. I'm thinking about starting a petition to change the new GFE to something that actually serves the borrowers and our industry in a way that works for everyone. Let me know your thoughts and experiences with the new GFE by commenting below. Do you think it needs a change? We'd love to hear your thoughts.