The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released frequently asked questions on the legality of RESPA marketing services agreements. The bureau also rescinded Compliance Bulletin 2015-05, RESPA Compliance and Marketing Services Agreements.
The CFPB said the actions do not mean MSAs are presumptively legal. Rather, whether an MSA violates RESPA Section 8 will depend on specific facts and circumstances, including how the MSA is structured and implemented.
As laid out in the 2015 compliance bulletin, MSAs are usually framed as payments for advertising or promotional services but can be used to disguise compensation for referrals, which can increase the cost of real estate settlement services.
ICBA is reviewing the FAQs and will weigh in with the CFPB if further clarifications are needed.