From: Washington Examiner
Over the past several years, the CFPB has used anti-kickback laws in the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) to slap companies with multi-million dollar fines for engaging in historically-common business practices. The CFPB regularly sues mortgage lenders and real estate agencies that have simply partnered in routine marketing service agreements (MSAs), whereby a realtor advertises or recommends a lender or broker.
If the CFPB’s priority is to protect consumers—as one would assume given the bureau’s name—going after a website such as Zillow is puzzling. Zillow and similar websites provide valuable tools to consumers at no cost. They help would-be homebuyers or sellers access important information critical to negotiating the terms of a real estate sale or purchase. And it would be a stretch to argue that Zillow somehow restricts consumers’ access to other real estate agents or lenders simply by allowing businesses to purchase advertising space.