Regulations

Title insurer agrees to pay $200,000 to settle kickback allegations

Regulators accused Lighthouse Title of paying real estate brokers for business

A title insurance agency has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle allegations that it violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) by entering into marketing services agreements with companies, including real estate brokers, with the understanding that those companies would refer mortgage closings and title insurance business. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau alleged that beginning in 2009, Holland, Michigan-based Lighthouse Title entered into a series of marketing services agreements with real estate brokers and other companies, believing that if it did not, the companies would refer their clients to other title companies. The agreements "made it appear as if the payments would be based on marketing services the companies were supposed to provide" to Lighthouse Title, the bureau said in announcing the settlement. "However, Lighthouse actually set the fees it would pay under the , in part, by considering the number of referrals it received or expected to receiv...