MSAs — Easily Stay on the Right Side of RESPA

February 2, 2021 — Marketing Services Agreements (MSAs) always seem to be shrouded by confusion and misunderstanding. However, in our humble opinion, the rules are very straightforward and they are a much-heralded tool in such a referral driven marketplace as mortgage. The key to success is: 1) understanding uses and limitations, and 2) effective design and ongoing oversight.

See our latest industry article on MSAs found HERE in the MBA NewsLink, titled, ‘The Ebb and Flow of MSAs in Mortgage.


Read about the three market dynamics that will surely keep MSAs in the regulatory spotlight in 2021 and beyond.

The mortgage ecosystem is highly dependent upon business referrals, including stakeholders such as: builders, relocation companies, realtors, attorneys, loan officers, title agents and others. These are such a rich source of commissions, it is easy to veer on the wrong side of RESPA Section (8)(a) – being considered as engaged in illegal kickbacks, whether giving or receiving. Like many situations in this business, it might be a wise choice to consider third-party vendors with expertise in:

    ✅ Writing effective MSAs

    ✅ Applying a fair market price valuation on the product or service

    ✅ Providing ongoing oversight of the execution of the agreements

If you expect it, you must inspect it

The article essentially advises that if you plan to give or receive something of value, just be darn sure there was something actually performed to earn the ‘thing of value.’ Below are some typical goods and services in play:

  • Coop advertising
  • Mail
  • Marketing collateral
  • Signage
  • Website & social marketing
  • Access to leads
  • Office Lease
  • Desk rental
  • Events, seminars

See the full contents of the article to learn more about what’s acceptable, and what’s not, as well as the select few vendors that dominate the space in guiding you to regulatory compliance.


Thanks for reading.



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