Castle & Cooke Mortgage received a consent order by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Thursday for allegedly steering consumers into costlier mortgages.
The Bureau is asking a federal district court to approve a consent order that would provide more than $9 million in restitution for consumers and obtain $4 million in civil penalties against the company and tow of its officers for allegedly paying loan officers illegal bonuses.
“Our action has put an end to illegal steering of consumers and has put more than $9 million back in their pockets,” said CFPB director Richard Cordray. “This outcome embodies our mission—to root out bad practices from the marketplace and ensure consumers are being treated fairly.”
In 2012, the mortgage company originated roughly $1.3 billion in loans and also maintains 45 branches in 22 states, including Arizona, California and Texas.
In July, the CFPB filed a complaint against Castle & Cooke and two of its executives for allegedly paying illegal bonuses to loan officers that reportedly pushed consumers into mortgages with higher interest rates.
The complaint alleged that Castle & Cooke – through actions taken by its president Matthew Pineda and senior vice president of capital markets Buck Hawkins – violated the Federal Reserve Board’s Loan Originator Compensation Rule by paying loan officers quarterly bonuses that varied based on the interest rate of the loans offered to borrowers.
That rule banned compensation based on loan terms such as the interest rate of the loan and the rule had a mandatory compliance date of April 6, 2011.
The CFPB estimates more than 1,100 quarterly bonuses were paid to more than 215 loan officers.
Consequently, Castle & Cook agreed to a consent order to resolve government claims related to federal loan origination compensation rules.
Under the order, the company and its executives admitted no wrongdoing.
“With today’s resolution we are pleased that we can now focus our undivided attention on our core mission: extending high quality loans and superior service to borrowers,” the company explained.
They added, “The regulations are complex, but we are committed to legal and regulatory compliance in our lending.”
To ensure that all impacted consumers are repaid and are no longer subject to illegal practices Castle & Cook will end unlawful compensation practices and ensure that the company retain records of compensation.