A consumer watchdog fines four mortgage insurers

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The government's consumer finance watchdog agency is ordering four national mortgage insurers to pay $15.4 million combined to resolve claims that the companies paid millions in kickbacks to mortgage lenders for more than a decade.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed complaints and proposed consent orders against Genworth U.S. Mortgage Insurance., United Guaranty Corp., Radian Guaranty Inc., and Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp.

The agency asserts the companies received lucrative business referrals from lenders. In return, the insurers bought reinsurance that was essentially worthless but designed to make a profit for the lenders.

The agency says the types of kickbacks were common practice in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

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