Magazine article American Banker

CFPB Fines Fidelity National Financial, Western Union Units $38M

Magazine article American Banker

CFPB Fines Fidelity National Financial, Western Union Units $38M

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachel Witkowski

WASHINGTON -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is charging two companies affiliated with Western Union and Fidelity National Financial more than $38 million in total charges for allegedly steering consumers into a mortgage payment program that cost them millions of dollars in fees.

Paymap Inc., a payment processor that is part of Western Union, and LoanCare, a mortgage servicer that serves as a subservicer for ServiceLink (which is majority-controlled by Fidelity National Financial), were cited by the CFPB for wrongfully promising "tens of thousands of dollars in interest savings" to consumers if they made more frequent mortgage payments. The "Equity Accelerator Program" deducted automatic payments for a mortgage on behalf of the consumer, but also typically charged a $295 enrollment fee as well as a $2.50 transaction fee for each debited payment. As a result, about 125,000 consumers paid more than $33 million in fees since July 2011, the CFPB said.

Colorado-based Paymap has agreed to return $33.4 million in fees to affected consumers and pay a $5 million civil penalty, while LoanCare in Virginia has agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty. Both companies have agreed to the order without confirming or denying the allegations.

"Deceptive advertising has no place in the financial marketplace," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a press release. "Today's action is delivering relief for consumers deceived by Paymap and LoanCare, and sending a clear message that these practices will not be tolerated. …

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