By Anessa V. Cohen

I wonder what all of us would have done during the last five years if computers and printers had not been invented. Since all the mortgage meltdowns that caused the mortgage industry to turn itself upside during these last years, the regulations upon regulations, revisions upon revisions, and additional guidelines upon additional guidelines that have been coming down the pike from Congress and the regulatory agencies of our 50 states at whiplash speed have been enough to make one consider tranquilizers.

If we could not keep updating and revising documents on computers and printing out those tighter and weightier changes on printers, how on earth would we manage to keep up with all those new regulations being thrown at the banks as if they come from a card dealer?

As if this were not enough, they now have all the mortgage brokers and originators running to have their fingerprints taken again after already having their fingerprints taken three years ago. Why? Good question! Is there some reason that my fingerprints would be any different than the fingerprints that I already took and submitted three years ago? Did I grow new fingers that need to be fingerprinted again? I don’t think they fingerprint convicted felons every three years. I can just see it now! Every three years, they go into the prisons and take a guy out and tell him, “We need to renew your fingerprints, come with me! The fingerprints we have on file for you are three years old and we have to update them!” Doesn’t this sound like the Twilight Zone to you?

The joke was on me since first I had to go online to make an appointment to get my fingerprints taken. Where do the banking regulators send you to have secure fingerprints taken? How many of you said the police station? Well, I probably would have said this as well! But, we all would have been wrong, since the places that have been authorized as secure locations to take fingerprints are . . . are you ready? . . . UPS stores!

For any of you who think I am joking, I promise you that I am not. I would love to hear the rationalization or the security clearance that was created to put this operation into place, where fingerprints for the security of the banking industry have now been put into the scope of responsibility of the local UPS stores. The guy in the store who mans the cash register took the fingerprints on a computerized fingerprint machine, then signed an attestation as to the fact that he saw one piece each of a government and non-government issued picture ID with my name on it before taking my fingerprints.

I had to hold back laughing when he asked me why my birthdate was not featured on the second piece of ID as well as the first, and perhaps I might have another picture ID that also showed my birthdate that he could see. That was when it was time for me to explain to him that a non-government picture ID would not feature my birthdate on it and that if he looked at the “guidelines” (I am being facetious) given him by the federal agency which appointed his UPS store to take my fingerprints, he would note that it is not required.

Is this the new wave of thinking of how to save our financial and banking industry? Where will it all end?

Next week I will tell you how this is translating in the mortgage application process, where the average application that needs to be signed is 84 pages–including a 45-page booklet from RESPA for informational purposes for the borrower. Do they really believe the borrowers are going to read a 45-page booklet on RESPA? The only good purpose I’ve heard it used for to date has been to line the litter box of one of my customers’ cats! v

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage originator with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to


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