WASHINGTON — US mortgage lenders would be required to give prospective borrowers ‘‘plain language’’ information on loan costs and risks under simplified disclosure forms released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The agency is seeking public comment on “loan estimate’’ and ‘‘closing disclosure’’ forms that would replace two overlapping federal documents that ‘‘can be confusing to consumers and industry,’’ according to a statement released Monday. The changes are required under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which created the consumer bureau.
The forms, described in an 1,100-page proposal, would change the way the annual percentage rate is calculated to include certain fees that are now excluded, such as those charged for title searches, credit reports, and appraisals. The documents highlight loan costs and spell out how they could change over time.
‘‘Our proposed redesign of the federal mortgage forms provides much-needed transparency in the mortgage market and gives consumers greater power over the exciting and daunting process of buying a home,’’ said Richard Cordray, the consumer bureau director.
The proposals, which will be open for public comment before being completed, mark the first in a series of steps the bureau is taking to reshape mortgage lending for banks such as Wells Fargo Co., Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase Co.
Subsequent rules will outline the responsibilities of lenders in underwriting, securitization, and servicing.
The bureau separately suggested a new definition for ‘‘high-cost’’ loans subject to protections from fees and risky terms.
The proposal would prohibit balloon payments, prepayment penalties, and modification fees, which typically have high interest rates and other costs.
The mortgage-form proposal stems from a Dodd-Frank mandate to break a decades-old stalemate in federal mortgage policy.
The Truth in Lending Act, administered by the Federal Reserve, and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, overseen by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, required separate forms for getting a mortgage estimate and for closing.
Repeated efforts to harmonize the forms failed, so Congress charged the consumer agency with the task.
The proposed change to the annual percentage rate calculation would modify current rules under the Truth in Lending Law, which excludes some potentially costly fees.
Comments on the high-cost loan proposal and some portions of the mortgage form proposal are due Sept. 7.
Comments on the majority of the mortgage-form proposal are due Nov. 6.