We wonder if agents are being set up. The world now knows that Fidelity has paid HUD $4.5 million dollars to settle charges of RESPA violations. But what about the Brokers and Agents who accepted these kickbacks? Are they being set up in other creative schemes that could violate RESPA too?

RESPA violations appear to be pervasive. For example, we recently received information) that claims Northern California broker Pacific Union International (PUI) has offered a 50% reduction in the E&O deductibles for its real estate agents who use Fidelity National Home Warranty and Disclosure Source products. The compensation also appears to have been made available to PUI agents who use Transaction Point or Relay.

As you know, RESPA explicitly prohibits accepting anything of value in exchange for the referral of real estate settlement service business. A 50% reduction in E&O deductibles sure sounds like something of value. What do you think? Can PUI agents, by accepting a 50% savings in their E&O deductibles in exchange for using Fidelity products, be held accountable for violating RESPA?

Our repeated calls to PUI, their E&O insurance carrier, and Fidelity have been met by employees unwilling to talk to us about this practice. Well, if they won’t talk to us, we hope that our readers will. Please let us know if you have information concerning PUI’s deductible savings program. Do you think this activity is RESPA compliant? And where are the attorneys that said that this was legal? We’d like to hear from them too.

Our government is showing a callus lack of regard for the well being of workers and consumers in California. Just how, you might ask?

A great example is in 2008 the U.S. government stepped in and bailed out Freddie Mac as part of the effort to save the mortgage industry – jobs and all. What did Freddie Mac do after it received our hard earned tax dollars? It turned nearly all of its settlement services needs over to one company – First American.

And what did First American do? Replaced jobs in California and sent them to India.

First American makes a significant percentage of its business from California Real Estate professionals, home buyers and sellers and tax payers. But it continues to send jobs out of state, and out of the country. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

Chances are, if you bought a home recently in California, something used in your transaction that was previously “Made in the USA,” now isn’t.

Like you, I am extremely worried about the dwindling number jobs in the California real estate industry. Especially when a major player like, First American, is dramatically off-shoring American jobs to their subsidiary company First Indian Corporation.

What First American jobs are being performed in India? Read their press release which states, “The First Indian Corporation’s primary areas of focus include title insurance, property tax, flood certification, default management services, and credit and property information.”

To give you an idea of the scale of how many jobs they are shipping to India’s Bangalore & Hyderabad, check out this link: http://jobsearch.monsterindia.com/searchresult.html?co=xfirstacinx&cat=22

At this difficult time we should consider focusing our tax dollars and support for creating and holding on to American jobs. Let’s keep Californians and all Americans working. What’s so bad about that?

Forbes Magazine reported back in a November 2006 cover story that First American Title was selling more than $5.8 billion dollars a year for title insurance in a story called, “America’s Richest Insurance Racket” Read the full story here:

As I have mentioned many times, my goal at RE-Insider is to keep real estate buyers and, well, the real estate community at large informed on events which impact consumers purchasing houses in the California marketplace. To follow my investigations or to submit your own ideas for investigations visit me at www.re-insider.com.