As part of its investigation into an alleged mortgage insurance kickback scheme that pushed up costs for homeowners dating back to the mid-1990s, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced settlements with private insurers that improperly paid lenders for steering homeowner business their way. The four firms will pay a collective $15.4 million in fines for their participation in the schemes, under which lenders required them to buy reinsurance from captive arrangements at costs that were higher than the coverage's worth. The backup insurance was essentially worthless and, according to the CFPB's Kent Markus, likely inflated costs for consumers. "In every kickback situation, there's somebody paying and there's somebody receiving," he stated. "Today we're dealing with those who paid the kickbacks and, in particular, trying to make sure the practice is stopped and consumers don't continue to be victimized in this way." The bureau's investigation into banks and other mortgage lenders is ongoing.