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New consumer bureau to police real estate kickbacks

HUD transferring RESPA authority to CFPB next week

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) next week will transfer hundreds of pending investigations of alleged violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) to the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is taking over responsibility for RESPA enforcement.The RESPA complaint caseload has been "extremely heavy," with more than 1,500 cases opened in the last 18 months, said Teresa Payne, HUD's associate deputy assistant secretary for regulatory affairs, in testimony this week at a congressional hearing.The hearing, conducted by the Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, was focused on regulatory changes and their impact on mortgage loan originations.Last year, after a lengthy battle with real estate industry groups, HUD began requiring lenders to start using new standardized disclosure forms, including a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) that imposes "tolerances&qu...