Let’s not take the Zillow co-marketing probe as legal advice

Two legal experts explain what the CFPB's investigation of co-marketing arrangements at a real estate giant could mean
  • An investigation isn't guidance, but it can provide clues as to how the CFPB is interpreting co-marketing rules and regulations.
  • Every participant in a co-marketing arrangement must pay a fair, proportionate price for his or her participation.
  • Brokers should document what they're doing, value each piece of co-marketing material and train agents on compliance.

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DENVER -- "OK, people: Do not run your businesses based on videos made by mortgage brokers," advised Brian Levy, an attorney at Kattan & Temple, at the RESPRO (Real Estate Settlement Services Providers Council) meeting today. Levy was referring to panicked phone calls he received earlier this year when his clients saw a video that two mortgage brokers put on YouTube. The video said that Zillow is "illegal" -- "and they knew that because somebody in an exam was told by an examiner that Zillow was illegal," Levy explained. Needless to say, videos like this are not legal advice. So Levy wants the industry to take a deep breath and think for a second before making major changes to business strategies -- even though the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is currently investigating Zillow's co-marketing program. "We don't know anything," he reminded the audience. "There's no lawsuit. There are press reports that something is imminent and rumors that things are happenin...