CFPB Sues Chicago Lender For Redlining

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit against a Chicago-based mortgage lender for allegedly discouraging Black applicants from applying for loans while engaging in redlining by discouraging borrowers for investing in predominantly African-American neighborhoods. The CFPB alleges Townstone “drew almost no applications for properties in African-American neighborhoods” in the Chicago metropolitan area between 2014 and 2017, while processing few applications from potential Black borrowers in the Chicago area. Specifically, the complaint – filed in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois – alleges: Townstone engaged in acts or practices, including making statements during its weekly radio shows and podcasts through which it marketed its services, that illegally discouraged prospective African-American applicants from applying to Townstone for mortgage loans;Townstone…

Anthony Casa: AIME Loses 2 of 3 Platinum Sponsors

In February, the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts announced its roster of sponsors for the year, saying their involvement “highlights a renewed commitment in the industry to empowering independent mortgage brokers.” “Sponsorship is a key component to AIME’s mission of supplying innovative and advanced resources that provide our members with the tools they need to build and nurture strong relationships with consumers,” AIME Chairman Anthony Casa said at the time. “We are grateful for the trust and support of the nineteen organizations that are our 2020 sponsors and we are looking forward to putting their investments in our organization to work to support our members.”  Five months later, however, AIME is hemorrhaging key sponsors in after the disclosure that Casa…

Anthony Casa: The Fallout For AIME

A day after news broke that Association of Independent Mortgage Experts Founder and CEO Anthony Casa sent degrading video messages about the wife of a Quicken Loans executive, member companies reacted in very different ways. Theresa Niemiec, the wife of Quicken Executive Vice President Austin Niemiec, sued Casa for sharing videos via text alleging she had performed sexual favors for United Wholesale Mortgage CEO Mat Ishbia in college. (Mrs. Niemiec was 11 years old during Ishbia’s senior year at Michigan State.) The videos – and full background on the story – can be seen here. (Warning: Very crude and graphic language is included in the videos.) Here is a recap of reactions Monday to Casa’s actions – ranging from members backing…

Mortgage Trade Group CEO Sends Lewd, Misogynistic Texts To Rival

Warning: This story and the embedded videos include crude and misogynistic language. The head of the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts sent a mortgage company executive expletive-filled video messages falsely alleging the man’s wife performed sexual acts on United Wholesale Mortgage President & CEO Mat Ishbia while in college. “Austin, great to see you’re having a great time. Love to meet your wife. It’s amazing that’s the girl who sucked Ishbia’s d*** in college. Way to marry up,” AIME CEO Anthony Casa said in the video directed at Quicken Loans Executive Vice President Austin Niemiec – and apparently distributed to others. In response, Theresa Niemiec – Austin’s wife – filed a lawsuit against Casa, alleging he “published and distributed derogatory, misogynistic and…

Zillow’s iBuyer Program Resumes In 5 Markets

Zillow’s iBuyer program resumed buying homes in five more markets Tuesday, bringing the total to 20 of the 24 markets it was operating in prior to the coronavirus pandemic shutting everything down. Zillow Offers resumed operations in Los Angeles, Riverside, Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Orlando. The program paused nationwide March 23 and has gradually begun operating in markets across the country in recent weeks. “Home sellers want a more convenient, seamless and safe way to sell their home, and we’re excited to bring Zillow Offers back to more sellers around the country,” Zillow President Jeremy Wacksman said.  Zillow Offers is currently available for sellers in Atlanta, Austin, Texas, Charlotte, N.C., Cincinnati, Colorado Springs, Colo., Dallas, Denver, Fort Collins, Colo., Los Angeles,…

Major Home Seller Settles With CFPB – For $35,000

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Tuesday it had reached a $35,000 settlement with Harbour Portfolio Advisories and two of its subsidiary companies over allegations they had violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act. Dallas-based Harbour – along with National Asset Advisors (NAA) and National Asset Mortgage (NAM) – is one of the largest sellers of foreclosed homes. The companies were accused of telling customers they had to tell the CFPB of alleged errors on their credit reports – which the bureau called “deceptive acts and practices.” CFPB noted, “Regulation V, which implements the Fair Credit Reporting Act, required NAA or NAM to investigate written disputes and contact the consumer-reporting agency to resolve any errors.  Also, either company could investigate a…

Zillow Updates Listings To Include LGBTQ Info

Zillow updated all property listings on Tuesday to include whether homes are in communities where state and local laws protect individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender from discrimination. All listings on Zillow, including those that are on or off the market, include the updated information. “It’s 2020, and yet, unfortunately, in many parts of the United States, LGBTQ+ home shoppers still face housing discrimination,” said Dawn Lyon, Zillow chief corporate relations officer. “That’s why we strongly support federal-level protections as part of the Equality Act. In lieu of federal law and in the spirit of ‘turning on the lights,’ we want to give people the most information possible when buying, renting and financing a home, including which communities…

Google To Ban Housing Ads Targeted To ZIP Codes

As the nation grapples with issues on racial equity, Google has announced that it will no longer allow realtors to target ads for housing based on ZIP code – in addition to several other changes. The change, announced on Google’s blog, is designed to “improve access to housing, employment and credit opportunities.” “This policy will prohibit impacted employment, housing, and credit advertisers from targeting or excluding ads based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or ZIP Code, in addition to our longstanding policies prohibiting personalization based on sensitive categories like race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin or disability,” said Scott Spencer, Google’s vice president of product management, ads privacy and safety. Spencer said Google will provide more information…

Q1 Net Income Of FDIC Banks Drops 70%

Net income fell nearly 70 percent in the first quarter for the commercial banks and savings institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, according to the FDIC’s quarterly banking profile released Tuesday. The 5,116 banks totaled $18.5 billion in net income in the quarter, a drop of $42.2 billion from a year ago. “The banking industry has been a source of strength for the economy in the first quarter despite unexpected shocks,” FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams said. “Although bank earnings were negatively affected by increases in loan loss provisions, banks effectively supported individuals and businesses during this downturn through lending and other critical financial services.” Other highlights from the report include: Net Interest: The average net interest margin declined 29…

Zillow Reopens 6 More iBuyer Markets

Zillow announced Tuesday that it is resuming its iBuyer program in six additional markets – bringing the total to 15 – after shutting it down in all markets at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Zillow is reopening Zillow Offers in Atlanta, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, San Diego and Sacramento. Previously, Zillow Offers opened up in Portland, Oregon; Nashville; Denver; Fort Collins, Colorado; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Raleigh; Charlotte; Phoenix; and Tucson, Arizona. The company paused buying homes in the 24 markets where Zillow Offers operates on March 23 in response to housing market uncertainty and public health concerns. “Our goal at Zillow is to help people navigate what can be a stressful and complex process, and with Zillow Offers, give…