Bank earns nearly half-million-dollar fine for RESPA violations

Violations of real estate settlement procedures resulted in a $425,000 fine against an Oregon bank last month, according to enforcement actions issued Friday by the federal bank deposit insurance agency.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) included the civil money penalty (CMP) assessed against Willamette Valley Bank of Salem among the nine enforcement orders it issued in November. The fine against the bank was the largest assessed by the agency last month, according to the list of orders it released.

According to the FDIC, the bank violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) by “entering into mortgage lead generation arrangements with the operator of a real estate website and the operator of an online loan marketplace that were used to facilitate and disguise referral payments for mortgage business.”

The agency also charged that Willamette Valley also made deceptive and misleading representations in three of the bank’s prescreened offers of credit; and obtained the consumer reports of former loan clients with recent credit inquiries without a legally permissible purpose.

FDIC Makes Public November Enforcement Actions; One Administrative Hearing Scheduled for January 2023