The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a bulletin to the mortgage industry cautioning on the use of marketing services agreements (MSAs) that in reality are actually kickbacks—which are banned under RESPA.

“I think we will have to wait and see how the industry digests this, as well as other matters involving RESPA,” said Richard Andreano, Jr., a partner at Ballard Spahr. “But rather than actually provide guidance on how to structure a compliant MSA, the CFPB simply summarized concerns it has with MSAs, and indicated that it has ‘grave concerns’ about the use of MSAs. That’s not exactly an invitation to jump into an MSA.”

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