Publication

You've been warned: CFPB puts real estate agents, lenders on RESPA violation watch

Daniella Casseres Quotes in HousingWire

By: Brena Swanson

RESPA — the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act — is a current buzzword in the housing industry with an increased scrutiny from the industry’s top consumer watchdog.

Between the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau slapping Prospect Mortgage with a $3.5 million fine for violating RESPA earlier this year and beefing up its ongoing investigation into Zillow for possibly violating RESPA, the real estate agent/lender space is being sent a warning, one industry attorney advises.

“Lenders should see this as clear warning that any arrangement with a real estate agent that is used to disguise payments for referrals will be critically reviewed by the CFPB for RESPA violations,” said Daniella Casseres, principal at Offit Kurman.

Casseres explained that the news of this investigation, combined with the RESPA consent order against Prospect Mortgage earlier this year, is a clear sign that RESPA enforcement remains a top priority for the CFPB.

“We have also seen state regulators increase their scrutiny of lead share and co-marketing relationships,” she said.

Under RESPA, lenders, mortgage brokers, or servicers of home loans are required to provide borrowers with pertinent and timely disclosures regarding the nature and costs of the real estate settlement process. The act also prohibits specific practices, such as kickbacks, and places limitations upon the use of escrow accounts.

 

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ABOUT DANIELLA CASSERES

Daniella Casseres’ legal practice focuses on laws and regulations governing mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers, financial institutions and consumer finance companies. She regularly advises clients on state and federal compliance laws and regulations including fair lending, advertising, licensing, privacy, TILA, RESPA, FHA, FCRA, and BSA requirements.

Ms. Casseres drafts and reviews wholesale lending and mortgage loan purchase agreements, and structures loan originator compensation for mortgage companies. She also represents clients in federal and state regulatory investigations, and assists in related litigation matters.

 

ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN

Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. With over 135 attorneys offering a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category, the firm is well positioned to meet the needs of dynamic businesses and the people who own and operate them. Our eleven offices serve individual and corporate clients in the Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City. At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, professionals who help maximize and protect business value and personal wealth. In every interaction, we consistently maintain our clients’ confidence by remaining focused on furthering their objectives and achieving their goals in an efficient manner. Trust, knowledge, confidence—in a partner, that’s perfect.

You can connect with Offit Kurman via our Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn pages. You can also sign up to receive Law Matters, Offit Kurman’s monthly newsletter covering a diverse selection of legal and corporate thought leadership content.

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