Beware: There’s a New RESPA Sheriff in Town

By Bob Hunt

When it comes to enforcement of the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA), there’s a new sheriff in town and it is increasingly apparent that he takes his job seriously. The sheriff is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a creation of the Dodd-Frank Act. While it is not exactly new—the Bureau began operations in July of 2011—the real estate industry is just beginning to understand the extent of the CFPB’s regulatory powers and the aggressiveness with which it is exercising them. Recently, RESPA News provided an analysis of the CFPB’s 2013 enforcement actions as well as an overview of the Bureau’s powers.

Unlike the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which was previously charged with RESPA enforcement, the CFPB can initiate civil actions in its own name, with its own attorneys. HUD, like other executive agencies, had to present their cases to the Department of Justice, which would then review the matter and decide whether or not to proceed with a suit.