Bay Area-based RPM Mortgage fined $20 million over loan scheme

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ALAMO — A Northern California-based mortgage lender and its CEO have been fined $20 million for illegally paying bonuses and higher commissions to loan agents who steered consumers to loans with higher interest rates.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says RPM Mortgage CEO Rob Hirt paid his employees bonuses to place clients in more expensive loans, earning tens of millions of dollars in payments from 2011 to 2013.

The Oakland Tribune reports Monday (http://bayareane.ws/1KYkmTm ) $18 million from the fine will be used to refund consumers affected by the scheme. Eligible mortgage holders will be notified by the bureau and receive refund checks in the mail.

The agency says that the other $2 million will go into the bureau's civil penalty fund.

According to its website, RPM has more than 70 branches throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Arizona and Colorado. The company has North Bay branches in Sonoma, Napa, Mill Valley and San Rafael.

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Information from: The Oakland Tribune, http://www.oaklandtribune.com

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