Good point. I don’t know about “required” – the initial estimate is higher because they don’t always know all the numbers right away. Once all the numbers are known, you can get a more exact “estimate”. I ended up putting everything into a spreadsheet, which made it easier to track changes in the estimates.
Whose bank? And by “bank” do you really mean lender?
In my (albeit limited) experience, the escrow company can be agreed upon in the purchase contract – it’s on the standard CAR offer form. However, oftentimes the seller has an escrow open before they even receive your offer, especially if they already had a contract that fell through. And they’ll probably go with whatever escrow is recommended by their agent (and I suspect the agent gets a kickback). This has nothing to do with your lender.
Are you perhaps thinking of the title company? Because the lender will pick their own title provider for lender’s title insurance. The buyer can pick their own for owner’s title insurance or just piggy-back on the lender’s.
The state “regulates” the industry, but AFAIK they don’t regulate the rates, they only require the escrow company to submit their rates to the state in advance. (Somewhat related – the state does regulate and sets the fees for notaries).