WASHINGTON NewDay Financial has agreed to a $2 million fine after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau alleged that the mortgage lender engaged in an improper kickback scheme and used deceptive marketing tactics targeted at veterans.
In an order announced Tuesday, the CFPB charged that NewDay, a nonbank mortgage lender based in Maryland and owned by Chrysalis Holdings, had an agreement with a veterans organization to steer members into signing up for NewDay products. The company has agreed to pay $2 million and stop the named marketing tactics. The agency also banned it from entering into similar endorsements with a third party.
"NewDay profited from the trust that veterans place in their veteran service organization," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a press release. "Veterans, and any consumers getting a mortgage, deserve honest information about lender endorsements."
The CFPB said NewDay entered into a marketing arrangement in 2010 with a veterans organization in which the agreement was facilitated by a broker company. NewDay then paid both parties a fee for generating leads and a $15,000 monthly licensing fee to the broker company, the CFPB said. In doing so, NewDay became the "exclusive lender" of the veterans' organization.
Though many lenders have arrangements with brokers and other organizations, a key problem the CFPB had with this agreement was that NewDay did not disclose to consumers that it had a financial relationship with the veterans organization. The CFPB said this "constituted a deceptive act or practice, which violates the" Dodd-Frank Act.
The agency also cites NewDay for violating the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act on allegations that it took kickbacks because the partnering veteran's organization sent mailings to members encouraging them to sign up for NewDay's products. The CFPB said NewDay sent more than 50 million mortgage solicitations by mail and electronically between July 2011 and July 2014.
NewDay USA, a registered trade name of NewDay Financial, was inducted into the Mortgage Bankers Association's Hall of Honor program in October for its work with veterans and active-duty military personnel.
The CFPB has ordered NewDay to stop certain marketing tactics and banned it from entering any business relationship involving third-party endorsements not meeting federal laws. It must also provide a myriad of documents to the CFPB for at least the next five years, including copies of sales scripts, recordings of calls with consumers and individual employee records related to any sales or marketing. NewDay has agreed to the order and to pay the $2 million penalty without admitting or denying the allegations.