The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has filed a complaint against Wells Fargo and JPMorgan in relation to a referral arrangement the company had with a title company based in Maryland.
The CFPB and the Maryland Attorney General took action against the two companies for an arrangement they had with Genuine Title, a now-defunct company that offered real estate closing services from 2005 until it went out of business in April 2014.
Genuine Title allegedly gave the banks’ loan officers cash, marketing materials and consumer information in exchange for business referrals.
The proposed consent orders, filed in federal court, would require $24 million in civil penalties and $10.8 million in redress to consumers from Wells Fargo, and $600,000 in civil penalties and $300,000 in redress to consumers from JPMorgan Chase.
The bureau and Maryland also took action against former Wells Fargo employee Todd Cohen and his wife, Elaine Oliphant Cohen, for their involvement. Cohen was a loan officer with Wells Fargo from April 2009 through August 2010. The bureau alleges that Cohen took substantial cash payments in exchange for referrals in addition to receiving marketing materials.
Genuine Title then made payments to Cohen’s then-girlfriend, now-wife, Elaine Oliphant Cohen, in an effort to disguise the kickback nature of the payment. Cohen and Oliphant Cohen also will pay a $30,000 penalty.
Cohen was one of more than 100 Wells Fargo loan officers in at least 18 branches – largely in Maryland and Virginia – who participated in this arrangement, the bureau said. At least six Chase loan officers in three different branches in Maryland, Virginia and New York were involved, the bureau said.