Industry Briefs Mar. 28, 2022: CFPB Targets ‘Unfair Discrimination’ in Consumer Finance

CFPB Targets ‘Unfair Discrimination’ in Consumer Finance

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced changes to its supervisory operations it says will better protect families and communities from illegal discrimination, including in situations where fair lending laws may not apply.

In the course of examining banks’ and other companies’ compliance with consumer protection rules, the CFPB will scrutinize discriminatory conduct that violates the federal prohibition against unfair practices. The CFPB will closely examine financial institutions’ decision-making in advertising, pricing, and other areas to ensure that companies are appropriately testing for and eliminating illegal discrimination.

The Bureau said it will examine for discrimination in all consumer finance markets, including credit, servicing, collections, consumer reporting, payments, remittances and deposits. CFPB examiners will require supervised companies to show their processes for assessing risks and discriminatory outcomes, including documentation of customer demographics and the impact of products and fees on different demographic groups. The CFPB will look at how companies test and monitor their decision-making processes for unfair discrimination, as well as discrimination under ECOA.

An updated exam manual on Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts or Practices can be found at

AnnieMac Selects Tavant for Wholesale Platform for Brokers

Tavant, Santa Clara, Calif., announced that AnnieMac Home Mortgage chose its VΞLOX platform for its wholesale lending operations.

AnnieMac plans to expand its wholesale lending business over the next three years using FinXperience, Tavant’s intuitive platform of point-of-sale experiences. FinXperience is a VΞLOX product and implementable across all lending channels, including retail, wholesale and others. FinXperience will provide AnnieMac’s brokers with seamless digital lending experiences and the tools they need to be self-sufficient.

Redfin: February Home Price Gains Hit Record High

Redfin, Seattle, said home prices climbed 16% year over year to a record high $389,500 in February as the number of homes for sale fell to another new low. The lack of inventory is holding back home sales, which were down 4% from January.

“An acute shortage of homes for sale continues to stymie buyers in the current market,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “Rather than dropping out of the housing market, homebuyers only seem to be getting even more voracious, driving prices up at a startling clip. Typically, rising mortgage rates weaken demand for homes—we don’t see demand weakening yet, but we will be watching to see if buyers back off or remain steadfast amidst rising borrowing costs.”

Redfin said the median sale price rose 3.5% between January and February, the fastest month-over-month gain ever seen during the winter months.

Additionally, Redfin said the U.S. median home sale price surged 7% during the four-week period ending March 13, the largest month-over-month increase on record in Redfin’s data, which goes back through 2017. And nationwide, 68.6% of home offers written by Redfin agents faced bidding wars on a seasonally adjusted basis in February, the highest level in Redfin’s records, which date back to April 2020. It is up slightly from a revised rate of 68% in January and 60.2% a year earlier. On an unadjusted basis, February’s bidding-war rate was 71.4%.

ICE Launches Multi-Faceted Global Brand, Advertising Campaign

Intercontinental Exchange Inc., New York, unveiled its global brand campaign, called “Make the Connection,” which further unifies ICE’s businesses under one broad theme.

Elements of the campaign include contributions from a cast of influencers from varied walks of life, united around the powerful idea of making connections, something ICE has done in global markets since its founding in 2000. Buttressing the spot is behind-the-scenes storytelling and social media content bringing to life each part of ICE’s businesses, helping new audiences learn about the company and its global impact.

As part of this effort, ICE has updated its branding across the organization, including the New York Stock Exchange, to highlight the cohesion and interconnectedness of the company’s network of technology driven solutions.

CFPB Issues Policy on Contractual ‘Gag’ Clauses, Fake Review Fraud

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued policy guidance regarding potentially illegal practices related to consumer reviews. The CFPB said it seeks to ensure that customers can write reviews, particularly ones posted online, about financial products and services that accurately reflect their opinions and experiences. The guidance also highlights practices such as posting fake reviews or inserting clauses that forbid a customer from publishing an honest review may violate the Consumer Financial Protection Act.

The CFPB guidance describes certain business practices related to customer reviews that are generally unlawful under the Consumer Financial Protection Act, including:

•           Contractual ‘Gag’ Clauses: Attempting to silence consumers from posting an online review can undermine fair competition. Banks and financial companies that include clauses in form contracts that forbid a consumer from posting an honest review may be engaged in unfair or deceptive practices.

•           Fake Reviews: Markets can be harmed if consumers cannot trust that online reviews are legitimate. Laundering fake reviews in ways that appear completely independent from the company to improve their ratings may constitute a deceptive practice.

•           Review Suppression or Manipulation: Consumers cannot easily shop and compare products and services when firms engage in practices to limit the posting of negative reviews or manipulate reviews to trick or confuse consumers. The guidance explains why these practices may be unlawful.

Sales Boomerang Partners with Bonzo on Automated Mortgage Marketing

Sales Boomerang, Baltimore, announced its integration with Bonzo, an omnichannel sales engagement platform designed to scale the voice of mortgage advisors so they can attract, convert and retain clients on autopilot. By enabling the automatic transferal of consumer data from Sales Boomerang, Bonzo users can engage high-intent leads instantly via automated outreach that creates a seamless lending experience.

Sales Boomerang monitors lenders’ databases to identify exactly when a past or prospective customer is ready for a loan. Sales Boomerang’s 11 unique loan opportunity alerts can be triggered by market factors or consumer behaviors, such as applying with another lender or reaching a target credit score.

OptifiNow Adds 3 CRM Features for Wholesale Lenders

OptifiNow, Seal Beach, Calif., added three CRM features, plus a new integration with Sales Boomerang, an automated borrower intelligence and retention system.

OptifiNow added Automated Account Classification, Support OnDemand and Event Uploader to the company’s platform, providing lenders with new tools to drive efficiency, better target customers and close more loans. Existing OptifiNow clients can request to have the enhancements enabled and configured now.

Redfin Adds Rental Search to Platform

Redfin, Seattle, launched nationwide rental search, enabling consumers to search for both rental and for-sale home listings on Redfin.

Redfin’s rental search is powered by rental listings from RentPath, Atlanta, a marketing technology and services platform for the rental industry that operates and other popular rental sites, which Redfin acquired in April 2021. It expands the reach of the RentPath network, letting RentPath’s property-management customers market their rental listings to’s 47 million monthly visitors.

Prospective renters can see updated listings every day, search with tailored filters, including budget, location and pet policy, and connect with property managers. Photos, floor plans and 3D tours let users experience a new rental home before ever setting foot inside. Renters can use the contact feature to connect with property managers to schedule a tour, ask a question or request an application.

Realthy Raise Another $500,000

Two months after launching,, Oakland, Calif., a software platform that provides real estate professionals to generate additional income through recommending relevant products and services to homeowners, raised an additional $550,000 in pre-seed funding.

Founded by Delaware-based digital marketing firm Full Reach Inc., Realthy has now raised $830,000, hired 15 IT and digital marketing professionals, and surpassed more than 800 registered users.  The Realthy platform for real estate professionals enables real estate brokers and agents to earn commissions by referring their clients to a wide range of homeowner services. Users can expect to earn an additional $4,000 to $5,000 per year to supplement the commissions they earn on real estate transactions and make their income more diversified and predictable.

Spokane Association of Realtors Partners with Down Payment Resource

The Spokane Association of Realtors partnered with Down Payment Resource, Atlanta, to provide its 2,500 MLS subscribers with access to DPR’s toolset that helps real estate agents connect clients with programs that can help save on down payments and closing costs.

SAR MLS subscribers will also receive access to other DPR tools, including Down Payment Connect, a personalized lead generation landing page where borrowers can search for homeownership assistance programs in their market and marketing resources that help generate borrower excitement in the homebuying process.

HUD Announces $3 Billion to Advance Equitable Disaster Recovery, Build Climate Resilience

HUD allocated nearly $3 billion in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds to help communities recover from disasters and build inclusive resilience to climate change.

HUD is allocating $2.214 billion to 10 local governments and 13 state governments for 16 major disasters in 2021. HUD is also allocating an additional $722.7 million to five of the previously announced 2020 disaster recovery grants to reflect the higher level of need than previously calculated for disasters in those states.

These funds will go to recover from and build resilience to natural disasters, including climate disasters, with a specific focus on low- and moderate-income populations. The funds are specified to be used for: “disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure and housing, economic revitalization, and mitigation, in the most impacted and distressed areas.”