Marx Sterbcow will be presenting on Thursday, December 7, 2023, at The 33rd Annual Robert C. Sneed Texas Land Title Insitute Conference in San Antonio, Texas at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country. The session at the Texas Land Title Association‘s annual event will discuss the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act “RESPA” and affiliated business arrangements.
The FDIC examiners identified significant consumer compliance issues during its supervisory activities in 2022 according to its March 2023 issue. The Spring 2021 issue of the Consumer Compliance Supervisory Highlights discussed Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act “RESPA” Section 8(a) violations and the difference between paying for a lead (which is generally acceptable) and paying for a referral (which is prohibited). True leads permissible under RESPA are often lists of customer contacts that are not conditioned on the number of closed transactions resulting from the leads, or any other consideration, such as endorsement of the settlement service. While a service may be characterized as a lead generation service, the activity could actually be a referral arrangement depending on the facts and circumstances. If the payment for the lead is in exchange for activity directed to a person that has the effect of affirmatively influencing the consumer to select a particular lender, then it becomes a referral fee. Banks often contract with third parties to provide what are characterized as lead generation services, but in some cases, the FDIC has found that the banks are actually paying for referrals. While the FDIC Supervisory Highlights demonstrate what banking regulators are looking at, it provides a good roadmap for other settlement service providers who are engaging in these types of marketing efforts.
In 2022, the FDIC identified RESPA Section 8(a) violations where a bank contracted with third parties that took steps to identify and contact consumers in order to directly steer and affirmatively influence the consumer’s selection of the bank as the settlement service provider. In some cases, this process involved the third party calling identified consumers and directly connecting and introducing them to a specific mortgage representative on the phone. This process is often referred to as a “warm transfer.” In other cases, the process involved operation of a digital platform that purported to rank lender options based on neutral criteria but where the participating lenders merely rotated in the top spot. Although each case is fact specific, indicators of risk in these arrangements include a third party that does one or more of the following activities:
Marx Sterbcow, Managing Attorney of the Sterbcow Law Group, will be presenting at The National REO Brokers Association‘s (“NRBA”) Business Development Seminar in Orlando, Florida on October, 7, 2022. The topic of the session will be “You are a CFPB target! Regulation, Liabilities & Politics” which will focus on the impact of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s lawsuit against Townstone Financial and how the CFPB’s regulation by political enforcement is now taking aim at the real estate brokerage and title insurance industries. The Seminar is at the Lowe’s Portofino Hotel at Universal Studios.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Sues a Chicago Mortgage Company Alleging “Redlining” Violations Based on Political Speech and Social Commentary Broadcast on Conservative Radio Station
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the controversial brainchild of Senator Elizabeth Warren, filed suit in Chicago yesterday against Townstone Financial, a small mortgage company, charging “redlining” violations based on political speech and social commentary broadcast on a conservative radio station. The Complaint alleges that statements made about crime in Chicago and support for police discouraged African-Americans from applying to their company and that the fact that their weekly radio show was broadcast on a conservative talk radio station discriminated against African-Americans.
James Bopp, Jr. of The Bopp Law Firm of Terre Haute, Indiana and co-counsel for Townstone, said that “The CFPB is using this case to drive all banking and mortgage companies away from advertising on conservative talk radio and to punish mainstream conservative political speech and social commentary. The CFPB has long been controversial and just lost a case in the United States Supreme Court for being improperly structured. They have been waiting years to file a case on the eve of a Presidential election to damage conservative voices. This is another federal agency weaponized to attack conservatives that needs to be stopped.”
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.
Sterbcow Law Group’s Managing Attorney, Marx David Sterbcow, will speak at the 2020 27th Annual Real Estate Services Providers Council, Inc. “RESPRO” Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on April 24, 2020. The RESPRO27 will be held at the Tempe Marriott at the Buttes. The presentation “Top Down Affiliated Business Arrangement “AfBA” Compliance Demands: The Impact of Principal and Client Compliance Demands on AfBAs and Other Recent Developments” will focus on the rapidly changing terrain of AfBA compliance demands originating from sources other than the government and the practical ramifications for adopting some of these demands into your affiliated business.
The seminar will discuss the benefits of having third parties Audit your affiliated business for Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act “RESPA” compliance based on new and evolving compliance expectations from banks, non-bank lenders, title insurance underwriters, and government regulators. Joining Marx will be Trip Riley with Saul Weing, Arnstein & Lehr and Charles Cain with WFG National Title.
For more information on RESPRO27
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.
Marx Sterbcow, the Managing Attorney for the Sterbcow Law Group LLC, has been invited to speak at the 2018 RESPRO 25th Annual Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The session titled “CFPB Enforcement and Technology Monitoring Expectations for Affiliated Business Arrangements” is scheduled for 9:00-10:00 AM on April 11, 2018. This presentation will discusses how a new technology oversight compliance software reporting tool helps RESPA governed Affiliated Businesses Arrangements “AfBA” stay compliant based on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Meridian Title Consent Order. The session co-presented with Francis “Trip” Riley, Partner at Saul Ewing, and will be moderated by Charles “Chuck” Cain, EVP WFG National Title Insurance Company and Of Counsel to the Sterbcow Law Group. Marx Sterbcow and Trip Riley are two members of the Meridian Title legal team who were involved in representing Meridian Title in connection with the CFPB Consent Order.
The presentation will provide critical information which all affiliated businesses should be aware of as it pertains to the monitoring of AfBA disclosure forms in real time. In addition we will discuss how the use of this new technology also adds operational value to any companies operational compliance and business development needs. We will explain how the CFPB Enforcement division views this type of technology monitoring as a critical piece for all settlement service companies, especially those in the title industry, as a new expectation for medium to large-sized companies to adopt. We will provide an in-depth look into how a growing number of title agencies across the United States are already utilizing this title production overlay software compliance and business intelligence technology, and how this technology will help companies stay RESPA compliant, and what the future holds for these types of applications as they enter the marketplace.
To Register for the 25th Annual RESPRO Conference click here
Marx Sterbcow of the Sterbcow Law Group will present at the Escrow Institute of California’s 70th Anniversary Conference at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, California on May 5, 2017. The Escrow Institute of California “EIC” Annual Conference is May 4-6, 2017.
The session “Understanding CFPB Enforcement under Unfair Deceptive or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP)” is from 10:15 – 11:45 AM. Mr. Sterbcow is co-presenting with Matthew Davis with the Davis & Davis Law Group.
Marx Sterbcow, Managing Attorney, of the Sterbcow Law Group will present in two sessions at the 2017 Real Estate Service Providers Council “RESPRO” Annual Conference at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 19, 2017. The RESPRO Conference is from April 18-20, 2017.
The first session “Unfair Deceptive Abusive Acts Practices UDAAP: The Cloud Still Hangs Low” is from 1:30 PM– 2:30 PM in the DaVinci 3 Ballroom. Mr. Sterbcow is co-presenting with Francis (Trip) Riley with Saul Ewing. The presentation will focus on how UDAPP will continue to effect CFPB’s actions on settlement service providers and how RESPA regulated Affiliated Business Arrangements (AfBAs) need to be cognizant of their marketing and advertising efforts. We will address cases of interest and suggest tips that every company should incorporate.
The second session “RESPA: Stretching the Envelope on Prohibited Referrals” is from 2:45 PM – 3:45 PM in the DaVinci 3 Ballroom. Mr. Sterbcow is co-presenting with Stan Gordon with Gordon & Associates and Francis (Trip) Riley with Saul Ewing. The presentation will focus on the basic parameters of what is prohibited referral activity have expanded under CFPB which has resulted in a chilling effect on the financial settlement service industry. The ambiguity in RESPA on defining a referral and the perceived risks in marketing activities in various circumstances will be discussed. The presentation will provide some clarifications on when an endorsement of a service provider becomes a prohibited referral. The session will also address whether it is a violation of Section 8 for a nationwide real estate brokerage group to promote a service provider throughout its owned or affiliated companies to their management and sales agents. How considerations under PHH and RESPA exception Section 8(c)(2) need to be considered and is the exception absolute as implied by the current ruling.