Re/Max and Quicken Loans in court battle over MSA gone wrong

  • A marketing service arrangement between Quicken and Re/Max has ended in two breach-of-contract lawsuits, one filed by each company.
  • Quicken claims that Re/Max misled it about the value of the arrangement. Re/Max claims that Quicken failed to honor the agreement.

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For about four years, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has put marketing service agreements (MSAs) between real estate brokers, mortgage lenders and settlement service providers under a microscope. The magnified attention caused confusion and strife in the compliance world by ratcheting up the CFPB's Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) litmus test for affiliated partnerships. In response, some of the nation’s top companies terminated their MSAs -- loosely defined as contracts by which one company will market another company's products -- or took a serious red pen to their contracts. And some companies forged ahead with their MSAs with a laser focus on the CFPB’s (sometimes baffling) RESPA interpretations. But for some of those companies, the gamble didn’t quite pay off. That seems to be the case for Denver-based real estate brokerage franchisor Re/Max LLC and Detroit-based nonbank lender Quicken Loans Inc., which entered into an MSA in 2015 t...