On April 4, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") announced settlements with four mortgage insurers to end what it called "improper kickbacks" paid by such insurers to mortgage lenders in exchange for business. The settlement orders require the insurers to pay $15 million in penalties to the CFPB. The four companies are Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corporation, United Guaranty Corporation, Radian Guaranty Inc., and Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation. The CFPB alleges that the four mortgage insurance companies violated section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA") by engaging in widespread kickback arrangements with lenders across the country. Under these arrangements, as alleged by the CFPB, the mortgage insurers would purchase reinsurance from captive mortgage reinsurance affiliates of the lenders – reinsurance that was worthless – simply to reward the lenders for their referrals of mortgage insurance business to the insurers. The CFPB stated that the mortgage insurers’ payments represented illegal kickbacks that distort markets and inflate the cost of homeownership. It is anticipated that the CFPB will pursue the lenders involved in these arrangements next. The CFPB’s action reflects the recent heightened regulatory scrutiny of referral activities in connection with mortgage loans.