(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.