Marx Sterbcow will provide a “RESPA Compliance and CFPB Update“ at the Minnesota Land Title Association “MLTA” 2020 Spring Conference at the Marriott Minneapolis Northwest hotel on Monday, April 6, 2020 from 10:15 to 11:15 AM. The session will first focus on the “Do’s and Don’ts of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)” covering such topics as marketing services agreements, affiliated business arrangements, real estate lead generation program compliance, referrals and gifts. The second part of the presentation will discuss the latest in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “CFPB” enforcement trends and outlook for the coming year.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation “FDIC” on November 30, 2019 entered into a Consent Order FDIC-18-0142k which ordered HomeStreet Bank, a Seattle, Washington based bank to pay a civil money penalty of $1.35 million dollars. The FDIC alleged that HomeStreet Bank’s now discontinued Home Loan Center-based mortgage banking business line violated Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 12 U.S.C. § 2607, and its implementing regulation, Regulation X, 12 C.F.R. Part 1024, by entering into certain co-marketing agreements using online platforms and desk rental agreements which resulted in the payment of fees to real estate brokers and home builders for their referrals of mortgage loan business. The FDIC also stated that all of HomeStreet Bank’s agreements with those real estate brokers and home builders have been terminated.
The FDIC’s Consent Order stated that HomeStreet Bank entered into the settlement without admitting or denying any charges of unsafe or unsound banking practices or violations of law or regulation.
Unfortunately though, the FDIC’s Consent Order did not provide any industry guidance on what it found objectionable in the co-marketing agreements using online platforms or the desk rental agreements. The Sterbcow Law Group hopes the FDIC will in the future provide more detail in its enforcement actions in order to help provide more clarity to the real estate and mortgage industry.
Marx Sterbcow with the Sterbcow Law Group’s RESPA Law Resource Center has been invited to speak at the Real Estate Settlement Providers Organization’s “RESPRO” 26th Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 27, 2019 at 8:45 AM at the Ritz Carlton Hotel’s Carrollton Ballroom. The presentation “Whither the CFPB: State Unfair Deceptive Abusive Acts Practices, Regulatory and Private Sector Compliance Issues, Activities and Requirements” will review the most recent federal and state mortgage, title insurance, and real estate brokerage regulatory actions.” The session will discuss how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and various state mortgage and title insurance regulatory agencies are interpreting UDAAP/RESPA. The session will also discuss what compliance expectations the CFPB’s Enforcement division will have when a company is under investigation and the general outlook of what is going on or not going on at the CFPB. The presentation will hit on issues involving private sector mortgage lending compliance involving Affiliated Business Arrangements and those how those expectations extend to class action mitigation risks.
Charles “Chuck” Cain from Cincinnati, Ohio (Executive Vice President Agency at WFG and Of Counsel to the Sterbcow Law Group) and Francis “Trip” Riley from Princeton, New Jersey (Partner with Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, LLP) will co-present with Mr. Sterbcow in this session.
The Legal Description and Dodd Frank Update have teamed up again to provide their 5th annual Regulatory Outlook Webinar on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 (2:00 – 3:30 P.M. EST) educating mortgage, title and settlement services professionals on the compliance trends and issues to expect in the New Year. The yearly webinar series has quickly become one of the most important educational sessions each year to find out what in store for the State of the Settlement Service Industry in the coming year.
This webinar features instructors Francis “Trip” Riley of Saul Ewing, Loretta Salzano of Franzén and Salzano, and Marx Sterbcow of the Sterbcow Law Group. These nationally-recognized attorneys will join moderator Danielle Kaiser of NATIC in a discussion of the pressing political, regulatory and compliance issues to watch in 2017 and how to prepare your business.
Instruction will include:
Marx Sterbcow, the Managing Attorney, of the Sterbcow Law Group, and Charles Cain, Vice President, Agency, WFG National Title Insurance Co. will present at the 2016 National Settlement Services Summit [NS3] at the Le Meridien & Sheraton Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.
The session titled “Ethics: UDAAP, Reverse Vendor Oversight and Legal Malpractice” will discuss how Title agents and attorneys are expected to adhere to the highest ethical standards, and how Dodd Frank’s ban on Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP) have given the CFPB broad authority to root out questionable activities. Learn how UDAAP is requiring agents to gear up when it comes to ethical conduct, particularly in the area of RESPA compliance. The presentation will explain how UDAAP could make vendor management liability and oversight a two-way street through a new enforcement tactic known as “Reverse Vendor Management Oversight”. Reverse Vendor Management Oversight could challenge the bounds of legal malpractice by requiring title agents, lawyers, and attorney notaries to be on the lookout for vendor compliance issues with their clients. Speakers will share real-world examples, and attendees will walk away with actionable tips for remaining UDAAP compliant in an increasingly active RESPA and UDAAP enforcement environment.
October Research Corporation has generously offered a Discount Code to attend NS3 for all friends and clients of the Sterbcow Law Group. To receive your Discount Code please contact the Sterbcow Law Group and we will send you the special discounted rate code to attend NS3.
Marx Sterbcow, Managing Attorney of the Sterbcow Law Group LLC, will be presenting on the ATS Secured & Advanced Bank Solutions Webinar Series on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (1:30 PM – 2:30 PM CDT) on the topic of “RESPA Section 8: Understanding Marketing & Advertising Regulations.” The webinar will cover the topics such as marketing agreements, advertising agreements, co-branding, lead generation, CFPB expectations on financial institutions, third party vendor management marketing concerns for financial institutions, and preparing your organization to remain RESPA compliant.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced today, September 30, 2014, that they had entered into a Consent Order with Lighthouse Title, a Michigan title insurance agency, for entering into Marketing Service Agreements (MSAs) with various real estate brokers with the understanding that the companies would refer mortgage closing and title insurance business to Lighthouse Title.
The CFPB found that Lighthouse Title violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) which prohibits providing something of value to any person with an agreement or understanding that the person will refer real estate settlement services.
The CFPB noted that Lighthouse’s MSA agreements made it appear as if the payments would be based on marketing services the companies were supposed to provide to Lighthouse Title. “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 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s investigation found that the companies on average referred significantly more business to Lighthouse Title when they entered into MSAs than when they did not enter into them.
The CFPB issued a civil money penalty against Lighthouse Title in the amount of $200,000.00; prohibited Lighthouse Title from entering into any Marketing Service Agreements in the future; ordered Lighthouse to terminate all existing MSAs; and Lighthouse must document for a period of five years all exchanges of things of value worth $5.00 or more with persons in a position to refer business.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation entered into a consent order with New Frontier Bank in St. Charles, Missouri on May 5, 2014 which was recently made public. (FDIC-14-0084b and FDIC-13-151k) The FDIC ordered New Frontier Bank to cease and desist from the violating the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act “RESPA” Section 8, 12 U.S.C. §2607 and its implementing regulation, Regulation X, 12 C.F.R. §1024.14, which is the prohibition against kickbacks and unearned fees.
The FDIC’s consent order did not mention the facts surrounding this consent order only that “the Bank shall cease all acts or practices in violation of RESPA and take all necessary steps to effect and maintain future compliance with RESPA.”
The consent agreement also ordered New Frontier Bank to reimburse all consumers who were affected by the undisclosed RESPA violations to pay an amount not less than $400 per consumer as restitution for the RESPA violations the FDIC said New Frontier Bank may have violated. The consent agreement did not state how many consumers may have been impacted. In addition to the consumer restitution New Frontier Bank was ordered to pay a $70,000 dollar penalty to the Treasury of the United States.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “CFPB” issued a Consent Order against Fidelity Mortgage Corporation “FFMC” and Mark Figert on January 16, 2014 for engaging in illegal business practices which violated Section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 12 U.S.C. §2607 “RESPA”. The CFPB stated that Fidelity Financial Mortgage Corporation, which is based in St. Louis, Missouri, entered into a office-rental agreement with the Bank of Sullivan.
The CFPB described the illegal office space lease agreement between FFMC and Bank of Sullivan as a rental arrangement based the volume of successful mortgage transactions that FFMC would originate out of the Bank of Sullivan’s office. The parties discussed anticipated loan volume and a pipeline of referrals under this office space rental agreement. The parties negotiated a daily rental rate of $200.00 and the lease agreement contained an exclusivity clause which required the Bank of Sullivan to only promote FFMC and FFMC could only promote the Bank of Sullivan.
The office space consisted of an interior office surrounded by bank personnel. FFMC also did not exclusively use the bank’s office to meet bank related borrowers. The CFPB stated that FFMC met Bank of Sullivan borrowers at a variety of locations, including coffee shops. The office rental agreement between March 2012 and November of 2012 showed that Fidelity had originated approximately 20 loans resulting an average monthly rental amount of $1,350.00 per month. The monthly office space rental amount fluctuated each month (from $800 to $2000 per month). The CFPB conducted a investigation into what the prevailing monthly rental rate was in the market place for office of similar stature and the found a monthly amount ranging from $600 to $900 a month which was substantially lower than the average monthly amount Fidelity had paid the Bank of Sullivan under this office space rental agreement. The rental agreement the CFPB violated RESPA Section 8(a) which prohibits giving a fee, kickback or thing of value in exchange for a referral of business related to a real estate settlement service.