The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday sued Castle & Cooke Mortgage, accusing it of paying illegal bonuses to employees who steered home buyers toward higher-interest loans.From recently approved CFPB Director Richard Cordray:
The suit marks the first time a company has been targeted under new federal loan-origination compensation rules adopted after a mountain of bad home loans set off a global financial crisis.
The bureau sued in federal court in Utah, where Castle & Cooke is based, accusing two of its top executives of running a quarterly bonus program that paid $6,100 to $8,700 to loan officers who persuaded consumers to take out pricier mortgages.
Those mortgages brought the company higher profits. Loan officers who did not push customers into higher-interest loans did not receive bonuses, the bureau said.
“Today we are taking action against the type of practices that precipitated the financial crisis,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Consumers should be able to get a mortgage without worrying about how the financial incentives of their loan officers may cause them to pay higher rates than they actually qualify for.”From the CFPB's press release:
The CFPB’s complaint seeks to:Let's hope the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is just getting started and this is the first of many cases they bring against those who make a living ripping off the American consumer.
- End unlawful compensation practices: The complaint seeks to prohibit Castle & Cooke from continuing its practice of incentivizing loan officers to upcharge consumers by distributing quarterly bonuses based on the interest rates of loans sold.
- Ensure that Castle & Cooke retain records of compensation: The complaint seeks to ensure that Castle & Cooke complies with federal law that requires creditors to retain evidence of compliance.
- Secure restitution for consumers: The CFPB is looking to secure restitution for consumers of Castle & Cooke who may have been upsold.
- Obtain civil money penalties: The CFPB is looking to obtain civil money penalties for each bonus paid out. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act allows civil penalty amounts to be determined under a three-tiered framework: up to $5,000 for any violation; up to $25,000 for reckless violations; and up to $1,000,000 for knowing violations.