In October 2014, Morrison & Foerster published the client alert “CFPB as HUD: Another Section 8 Consent Order Displays CFPB’s RESPA Approach.”
In a recent RESPA enforcement action, the CFPB negotiated a consent order with Lighthouse Title, Inc. (“Lighthouse”) for alleged violations of RESPA’s prohibition against kickbacks. RESPA Section 8(a) and its implementing regulation, Regulation X, prohibit parties from entering into an agreement to exchange fees, kickbacks, or things of value for the referral of settlement services in connection with a “federally related mortgage loan.” 12 CFR 1024.14(b). In the Consent Order, the CFPB claimed that Lighthouse entered into marketing services agreements (MSAs) for advertising with parties such as real estate brokers, and made payments related to these agreements based on the “volume or value of business referred” by such counterparties. As a result of this practice, the CFPB alleged that Lighthouse violated RESPA both for entering into the MSAs and for varying the fees it paid based on the referral of business provided by the counterparties.
Click here to read the full alert.