Bureau FAQs on RESPA address prohibited and permissible fees, arrangements; compliance bulletin rescinded

A set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) section 8 prohibitions on kickbacks and unearned fee arrangements, as well as provisions defining fees and arrangements that are not prohibited, was released Wednesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as a compliance aid.

The bureau said the FAQs give an overview of the provisions of RESPA section 8 and respective sections of Regulation X (the CFPB’s rule implementing RESPA). It said they also address the application of certain provisions to common scenarios described in bureau inquiries involving gifts and promotional activities, and marketing services agreements (MSAs).

The CFPB also said it was rescinding its Compliance Bulletin 2015-05, “RESPA Compliance and Marketing Services Agreements,” stating that the bulletin “does not provide the regulatory clarity needed on how to comply with RESPA and Regulation X.”

“The Bureau’s rescission of the Bulletin does not mean that MSAs are per se or presumptively legal,” the bureau said in its announcement. “Whether a particular MSA violates RESPA Section 8 will depend on specific facts and circumstances, including the details of how the MSA is structured and implemented. MSAs remain subject to scrutiny, and we remain committed to vigorous enforcement of RESPA Section 8.”


Blog post: CFPB provides clearer rules of the road for RESPA marketing service agreements