RESPA prohibits the giving or receiving of a thing of value in exchange for a referral of real estate settlement services based on an agreement/understanding involving a consumer mortgage loan. RESPA provides these examples of a “thing of value”: money, salaries, future credits, opportunities to make money, services of all types, sales, leases or rental at special rates, trips, or the payment of expenses. It doesn’t require the transfer of money and the list is not all-inclusive.

Are you sponsoring an event for which you want to request Wells Fargo’s participation? If so, Wells Fargo’s participation is possible, subject to adherence to specific requirements related to equally sharing the marketing/advertising, education/presentation, cost and management of the event. All RESPA guidelines must be followed. Any Wells Fargo investment in a co-sponsored event cannot be a direct thank you for a lead, loan, application or referral of business.

If you need more information on these requirements or if you are planning to ask Wells Fargo to participate in an event, please write to us at and we will put you in touch with this team.





Andrew Cooch, Esquire, has been selected to act as legal counsel within The Greater Severna Park and Arnold Chamber of Commerce.


FDIC Highlights RESPA Section 8 Violations in Compliance Report



The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) on June 13 published its 2018 Consumer Compliance Supervisory Highlights, which provides a high-level overview of the consumer compliance issues identified through approximately 1,200 examinations conducted in 2018 for non-member state-characters banks and thrifts.

This report provided anonymized 2018 exam findings showing violations of consumer protection laws. Issues related to compliance with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Section 8 were included in the report.

Specifically, the FDIC noted with desk rental arrangements that were used to disguise illegal referral fees. According to the report, “One issue involved institutions that purportedly leased offices or desk space from Realtors and home builders, where the amounts paid to Realtors and home builders greatly exceeded the fair market value of the rentals. Another issue involved desk rentals that appeared to be sham or subterfuge arrangements to disguise the payment of impermissible mortgage referral fees.”

RESPA permits lenders to enter into bona fide marketing and ad

vertising and marketing services received. They can’t be used to conceal the payment of illegal payments for referrals of mortgage business.

In the past, the FDIC found similar violations for marketing services and lead generation arrangements. These were the topic of a bulletin from the DFPB in 2015


Citations from the Community



The Law Offices of Cooch, Bowers & Schuller received citations from the Anne Arundel County Council,  Senate of Maryland, Maryland House of Delegates, and an Executive Citation from the Anne Arundel County Executive, Steve Shuh for 30 years of business.

Cooch, Bowers & Schuller has served the community’s legal needs since opening it’s doors in 1988. The original partners opened Progressive Title Corporation’s doors a year later in order to better serve the real estate needs of Anne Arundel County, the whole Maryland community and beyond. Progressive Title Corporation has provided independent title services in Maryland, D.C., Virginia and Florida.


Cooch, Bowers & Schuller 30th  Anniversary Celebration



Law Office of Cooch, Bowers & Schuller will hold a 30th Anniversary Ribbon Cutting Thursday October 25th. The Ribbon Cutting Celebration will be from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Please join us to celebrate our 30 year history as we look forward to the future of the firm. Light Refreshments will be served.

Congratulations to Andy, David, and our newest partner, Clare Schuller!

Ms. Schuller joined the firm six years ago and became a full partner early this year.


Progressive Title 25th Anniversary



This year marks the 25th Anniversary for Progressive Title Corporation, which was founded in 1989 by Andrew Cooch and David Bowers.  Over the past 25 years Progressive Title has thrived in all kinds of real estate markets because of its continuing commitment to customer service and excellence.

Congratulations to Andy, David and the rest of the Progressive Staff for this impressive achievement.


Average U.S. 30-year mortgage rate falls to 4.21 pct


By: Associated Press 

 WASHINGTON — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week for a second straight week as the spring home-buying season has gotten off to a slow start.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year loan declined to 4.21 percent from 4.29 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.32 percent from 3.38 percent.

Mortgage rates have risen almost a full percentage point since hitting record lows about a year ago.

Warmer weather has yet to boost home-buying as it normally does. Rising prices and higher rates have made affordability a problem for would-be buyers, while many homeowners are reluctant to list their properties for sale.

Roughly a third of homeowners owe more on their mortgage than they could recoup from a sale.

Data released Tuesday showed that U.S. home prices rose at a slightly slower pace in the 12 months that ended in March, a sign that weak sales have begun to restrain the housing market’s sharp price gains. Real-estate data provider CoreLogic said prices rose 11.1 percent in March compared with March 2013. Though a sizable increase, that was down a bit from February’s 12.2 percent year-over-year increase.

Home sales and construction have faltered since last fall, slowing the economy. A harsh winter, higher buying costs and a limited supply of available homes have discouraged many potential buyers. Existing-home sales in March reached their lowest level in 20 months.

Some signs suggest that buying might be picking up a bit as the spring season gets underway. Signed contracts to buy homes rose in March for the first time in nine months, the National Association of Realtors said last week.

The increase in mortgage rates over the year was driven by speculation that the Federal Reserve would reduce its $85 billion-a-month bond purchases, which have helped keep long-term interest rates low. Indeed, the Fed has announced four $10 billion declines in its monthly bond purchases since December.

The latest came last week as Fed officials decided to reduce the monthly purchases to $45 billion a month, because they believe the economy is steadily healing. However, the central bank expects its benchmark short-term rate to remain unusually low.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen told Congress this week that the economy is improving but noted that the job market remains “far from satisfactory” and inflation is still below the Fed’s target rate.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage declined to 0.6 point from 0.7 point a week earlier. The fee for a 15-year loan remained at 0.6 point.

The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 2.43 percent from 2.45 percent. The average fee slipped to 0.4 point from 0.5 point.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable mortgage was unchanged at 3.05 percent. The fee rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.

Read more:


Best Practices



Progressive Title Corporation has adopted the American Land Title Association Best Practices policy. Mary Clare Schuller, Esquire is the designated Best Practices Compliance Officer.