Title Insurance Agency to Pay $200,000 for RESPA Vioaltion

title company kickback envelope (Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd) – “Today’s action sends a clear and simple message, that quid pro quo agreements for real estate referrals are illegal,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has ordered Lighthouse Title, a Michigan title insurance agency, to pay $200,000 for illegal quid pro quo referral agreements.

According to the order, Lighthouse Title entered into marketing services agreements (MSAs) with various companies, including real estate brokers, with the understanding that the companies would refer mortgage closings and title insurance business to Lighthouse. The agreements made it appear as if the payments would be based on marketing services the companies were supposed to provide to Lighthouse. However, Lighthouse actually set the fees it would pay under the MSAs, in part, by considering the number of referrals it received or expected to receive from each company. The CFPB’s investigation found that the companies on average referred significantly more business to Lighthouse when they had MSAs than when they did not.

RESPA Section 8(a) provides, “No person shall give and no person shall accept any fee, kickback, or thing of value pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, that business incident to or a part of a real estate settlement service involving a federally related mortgage loan shall be referred to any person.” 12 U.S.C. § 2607(a).

A copy of the Bureau’s consent order is available here: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201409_cfpb_consent-order_lighthouse-title.pdf

 

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  This article was published on October 6, 2014. All information contained in this posting is deemed correct and current as of this date, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained by third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

 

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About Jeff Sorg

Jeff Sorg is a co-founder of OnlineEd®, an online real estate, mortgage broker, and vocational school founded in 1997, where he also serves as Chief Executive Officer, and School Director. Sorg holds vocational and post-secondary school instructor licenses in several states and has authored numerous real estate continuing education and pre-licensing courses and has been awarded the International Distance Education Certification Center's CDEi Designation for distance education. Memberships include ARELLO (Association of Real Estate License Law Officials), the National Association of REALTORS®, Oregon Association of REALTORS®, and Portland Metro Association of REALTORS®. Awards and service include REALTOR® Emeritus in the National Association, Life Member award in Portland Metro Association and Chairperson of the Oregon Real Estate Forms Committee. OnlineEd® provides real estate, mortgage broker, insurance, and contractor pre-license, post-license, continuing education, career enhancement, and professional development and designation courses over the Internet.