Well, not really. The CFPB issued a long-awaited bulletin today (CFPB Bulletin 2015-05) labeled as their guidance on the use of Marketing Services Agreements (MSAs). The only real guidance that I could determine from reading the bulletin is not to be in an MSA arrangements. If you are, you do so at your own peril.
The bulletin highlighted several enforcement actions taken by CFPB against entities operating under certain marketing agreements. It turns out that the CFPB found these to be unacceptable and to be a sham to hide the payment of referral fees for business. This is something that we are all well aware of that is prohibited by law under RESPA.
So, how on earth can these companies have been so dumb? Maybe, it is because the rules have now changed.
What may have been deemed acceptable in the past, may no longer be okay. Or, just maybe it wasn’t okay in the first place.
The fact is that CFPB does not like these arrangements and lenders had better be very careful if they are now in one. Remember, anyone can blow the whistle and they are being encouraged to do so.
If you are not absolutely, positively sure that your MSA will pass muster with CFPB, I suggest you immediately get some legal counsel and rethink the arrangement.
The rules have changed; you must know how to play different.