R. Colgate Selden, R. Andrew Arculin, Scott D. Samlin, Paula M. Vigo Marques, and Daniel V. Funaro ●
A new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) advisory opinion refreshes the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s computer loan origination system policy statement for a new generation of online marketing technology, specifically targeting the policy to “operators of certain digital technology platforms” that function via website and online applications. These “Digital Mortgage Comparison-Shopping Platforms,” as described by the CFPB, “enable consumers to comparison shop for mortgages and other real estate settlement services, and include platforms that generate potential leads for platform participants through consumer interactions.”
The CFPB advisory opinion applies long standing interpretations on unlawful referrals to new online marketing technology platforms. However, even if such platforms are permissible under a referral analysis, they still could violate prohibitions on unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices and other federal and state laws. The advisory also functions to put the industry on notice for future enforcement actions should operators of noncompliant marketing platforms not heed the guidance in the advisory.
After nearly 30 years, the CFPB issued an advisory opinion (“CFPB Opinion”) last week picking up where the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) left off in 1996 with its policy statement on computer loan origination systems (“CLOs”). The HUD policy statement, which addressed the applicability of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act’s (“RESPA”) Section 8 prohibition on kickbacks in exchange for settlement service business referrals to CLOs, was drafted at a time when CLOs often consisted of a lender’s Internet dial-up computer kiosk located in a real estate broker or other settlement service provider’s office.
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