What about the merits of PHH Corp. v. CFPB?

There's been a lot of interest in the constitutional ruling in PHH Corporation v. CFPB (D.C. Cir.) — that it's not constitutionally okay for an independent agency to be directed by just one person who may only be removed for cause.

But I haven't seen much about the merits of the parties' dispute under the anti-kickback provisions of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). The CFPB lost thoroughly before the D.C. Circuit on the RESPA issues as well. (It was a tough day in court for the CPPB.) But if you're interested in the topic of RESPA enforcement, take a look at Kenneth Harney's Washington Post article, which raises concerns about whether the decision in PHH will hamper the CFPB's enforcement efforts.

The D.C. Circuit in PHH rejected the CFPB's key interpretation of RESPA, which was the basis for a $109 million disgorgement order against PHH for allegedly unlawful referral fees (or, put pejoratively, kickbacks). The court held as well that because the CFPB's RESPA interpretation ran headlong into a contrary longstanding interpretation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the switcheroo violated PHH's due process rights. (Because the D.C. Circuit rejected the CFPB's interpretation of RESPA in the first place, I don't see why the D.C. Circuit needed to reach the due process issue. But maybe I'm missing something.)

The RESPA  issues are complicated, and I'm not going to go into them here, but read the D.C. Circuit's opinion if you are interested. (The discussion of the RESPA issues doesn't start in earnest until page 70 of the D.C. Circuit's opinion, and so you can begin there!).

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