The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined a small mortgage banking company $81,000 in fines for paying referral fees to a Missouri bank.
CFPB alleged that Fidelity Mortgage Corp., St Louis, and its president Mark Figert leased office space from an unidentified bank and tied lease payments to the amount of loan production.
From March 2012 through November 2012, Fidelity originated about 20 loans that had been referred by the bank under the leasing agreement and collected $27,076 in origination fees, according to the consent order released by CFPB Thursday.
The lease payments varied from $800 to $2,000 and averaged about $1,350 a month.
CFPB ordered Fidelity and Figert to pay back all the proceeds from the referrals ($27,076) and $54,000 civil money penalty. The lender could not be reached for comment.
“Kickbacks harm consumers by hampering fair market competition and unnecessarily increasing the cost of getting a mortgage,” CFPB director Richard Cordray said. “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will continue to take action against schemes that steer consumers to lenders with unscrupulous and illegal business practices.”