The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday announced enforcement actions against four mortgage insurance companies the bureau said violated federal law by engaging in widespread kickbacks to lenders across the country.
The four companies include Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp., United Guaranty Corporation, Radian Guaranty Inc., and Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp.
In exchange for the kickbacks, the CFPB said in a release, the mortgage insurers received lucrative business referrals from lenders. The CFPB will fine the four insurers more than $15 million collectively in penalties.
“Illegal kickbacks distort markets and can inflate the financial burden of homeownership for consumers,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “We believe these mortgage insurance companies funneled millions of dollars to mortgage lenders for well over a decade.”
The kickbacks at issue in the CFPB’s actions were paid to lenders through “captive reinsurance arrangements,” the bureau said.
In addition to the fines, the companies have agreed to end the kickbacks going forward and allow the CFPB to monitor compliance with the order.
The Office of Inspector General at the Department of Housing and Urban Development initiated the investigation of reinsurance practices, and in July 2011, HUD’s authority over the investigation transferred to the new CFPB.