It has been more than five years since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) has issued a consent order based on alleged violations of Section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”). On August 17, 2023, the CFPB announced a consent order with a non-bank mortgage lender and a consent order with a real estate brokerage company—totaling nearly $2 million in combined penalties—based on allegations that the mortgage company provided things of value and the real estate brokerage company received things of value in violation of Section 8 of RESPA. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the activities at issue in the consent orders are promotional events and marketing services agreements, two arrangements about which the CFPB provided guidance in its Frequently Asked Questions in October 2020. Continue Reading RESPA Enforcement is Back! The CFPB Takes Aim at Marketing and Promotional Activities
Lead generation and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”) compliance remain hot topics following the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (“CFPB”) February 2023 advisory opinion regarding digital comparison shopping platforms. In its March 2023 issue of Consumer Compliance Supervisory Highlights, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) discusses certain examination observations and regulatory developments, including those related to FDIC-insured banks’ payments for leads under Section 8 of RESPA. The Highlights indicate that, while fact specific, indicators of risk under RESPA in connection with lead generation arrangements include third parties that do one or more of the following activities:Continue Reading The FDIC’s Observations on Lead Generation and RESPA Compliance
Can online lead generation be done compliantly under Section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act? The answer is yes, but it is important to navigate the impermissible activities recently identified by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. On February 7, 2023, the CFPB issued long-awaited guidance in an advisory opinion addressing how it interprets…
High rates and a steep reduction in mortgage refinance applications have created stiff competition for the origination of purchase-money mortgages. Settlement service providers often seek creative strategic alliances to help secure more business. Companies can refer to recent informal guidance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau relating to marketing services agreements and other promotional opportunities.
On September 7, 2021, the CFPB announced that it had entered into a consent order with an education finance nonprofit (“nonprofit”) in connection with the nonprofit’s offering of income share agreements (“ISAs”). In the consent order, the CFPB asserted that ISAs are extensions of credit covered by the Consumer Financial Protection Act and the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”) as well as TILA’s requirements with respect to “private education loans.” Because the CFPB asserts in the consent order that it views the nonprofit’s ISAs as credit, the CFPB takes the position that they are also subject to numerous other federal consumer financial protection laws that impose requirements and restrictions on student loan products. This consent order has significant implications for those in the ISA market, as it indicates how the CFPB views re-characterization for ISAs and similar products.
Continue Reading CFPB Finds that Income Share Agreements are Credit Products
The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act is ambiguous, and compliance often turns on the facts of arrangements. For that reason, settlement service providers have been asking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for guidance since it took responsibility for RESPA nearly 10 years ago. These calls were amplified when Section 8 of RESPA was an early…
The California legislature ended its legislative session late on Monday, August 31, 2020, by passing two significant bills that will be of interest to the state’s mortgage servicers and other licensees—AB 3088 and AB 1864.
AB 3088 imposes new forbearance-related requirements on mortgage servicers related to the COVID-19 pandemic (in addition to significant protections for tenants in California beyond the scope of this summary). AB 1864 renames, reorganizes, and grants new authority to California’s primary financial services regulator to create a “mini-CFPB”—although many licensees are exempt from the new authority. Governor Newsom has signed AB 3088 into law, which took effect immediately as an urgency measure, and is expected to follow suit with AB 1864 in the near future.
Below we summarize those provisions from the bills that are particularly relevant to California mortgage licensees and federal- and state-chartered depository institutions servicing mortgage loans in California.
Continue Reading California Enacts Two Bills with Significant Impacts on Mortgage Licensees in the State
Since Mayer Brown issued a Legal Update describing guidance issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac (together with Fannie Mae, the “GSEs”), the Federal Housing Administration and the Veterans Administration (“VA”) relaxing requirements with respect to appraisals and income/employment verification during the COVID-19 emergency, the agencies have continued to revise their guidance as the market adjusts to the challenges encountered by mortgage lenders. The GSEs and the VA have all issued revised letters, and the US Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued new guidance to provide relief in connection with guaranteed single-family loans. Below we describe the USDA’s guidance regarding appraisals and employment verifications performed in connection with RHS loans and provide updates on the changes made by the GSEs and the VA to their appraisal guidance.
Continue Reading The GSEs and Other US Federal Agencies Issue New and Revised Guidance for Appraisals and Verifications of Employment
COVID-19 has strained all aspects of life in the United States, including the housing and mortgage industries. Social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and business closures have disrupted the abilities of many workers to complete their duties on a “business as usual” basis. In the mortgage market, there is a direct impact on a mortgage lender’s ability…
Federal housing finance authorities issued temporary relief measures for the benefit of mortgage loan borrowers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and its economic consequences. The Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (in its role overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) have announced measures that require servicers to offer relief to borrowers who…