The CFPB filed a complaint in federal district court against a Utah-based mortgage company, Castle & Cooke Mortgage LLC, and two of its officers for illegally giving bonuses to loan officers who steered consumers into mortgages with higher interest rates. The complaint alleges that Castle & Cooke, through the actions taken by its president, and a senior vice-president, violated the Federal Reserve Board’s Loan Originator Compensation Rule.
The CFPB alleges that the company violated the rule with its quarterly bonus program, which paid more than 150 Castle & Cooke loan officers greater bonus compensation when they persuaded consumers to take on more expensive loans. The average quarterly bonus ranged from $6,100 to $8,700. By contrast, those loan officers who did not charge consumers higher interest rates did not receive quarterly bonuses. The CFPB estimates that more than 1,100 illegal quarterly bonuses were paid and that tens of thousands of customers may have been upsold since April 2011. By tying bonuses to the interest rate of the loans in this manner, the CFPB alleges that Castle & Cooke was in direct violation of the law.
The CFPB also believes Castle & Cooke violated laws that require companies to retain their compliance records for a certain period of time. Creditors are required to retain evidence of compliance with the rule. The complaint alleges that Castle & Cooke did not record what portion of each loan officer’s quarterly bonus was attributable to a particular loan and did not reference its quarterly bonus program in each loan originator’s compensation agreement, in violation of federal consumer financial law.