CFPB Takes Enforcement Action for Violations of RESPA’s Kickback Provisions

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The CFPB announced it had entered into a consent order with a mortgage lender for violations of Section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Section 8 generally prohibits receiving kickbacks, fees, or anything of value in exchange for referring a consumer to a real estate settlement service provider or the sharing of real estate settlement service fees for reasons other than for services actually performed. According to the CFPB, the mortgage lender rented office space within a local bank, the bank referred customers interested in mortgages exclusively to the mortgage lender, and in exchange, the mortgage lender purportedly rented office space from the bank at inflated rates that were “tied . . . to loan volume,” and ended up being higher than the general market rate for renting comparable office space. The terms of the consent order require the mortgage lender to pay over $27,000 as disgorgement for the origination fees collected from March 2012 through November 2012 and to pay a civil money penalty.

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