CFPB penalizes nonbank mortgage provider for alleged kickbacks

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today penalized the nonbank mortgage loan originator and servicer Freedom Mortgage for allegedly providing illegal incentives under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act to real estate brokers and agents in exchange for mortgage loan referrals. The bureau ordered Freedom to stop making kickbacks and pay $1.75 million into the agency’s victim relief fund.

Freedom provided real estate agents and brokers with incentives such as cash payments, paid subscription services and catered parties with the understanding they would refer prospective homebuyers to the firm for mortgage loans, according to the CFPB. Separately, the bureau issued an order against a real estate brokerage firm, Realty Connect USA Long Island, for allegedly accepting illegal kickbacks from Freedom. Realty Connect will pay a $200,000 penalty.