On Nov. 6, 2019, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announced a settlement with HomeStreet Bank (Bank) in Seattle, Washington, for violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).  The settlement included a civil money penalty of $1,350,000. The Bank entered into co-marketing arrangements with real estate brokers to jointly market services online. The Bank also rented space in real estate broker and home builder offices (known as desk rental agreements). These arrangements and agreements violated RESPA because the bank fees to the real estate brokers and home builders for the referral of mortgage loan business. The Bank has subsequently cancelled all such arrangements. RESPA permits co-marketing arrangements and desk rental agreements if the fees paid are reasonable in relation to the fair market value of the marketing or rental cost. It is a violation of RESPA if the fees paid for the arrangement or agreement exceed the fair market value, and instead the fees are for the referral of mortgage business.


John Zasada, JD, CAMS – Compliance Consulting Director, Financial Institutions Group. John can be reached at zasada@doeren.com.