What To Look For In A Consent Order Audit Partner
Articles by: Richey May, Jul 15, 2020
Law firms representing mortgage clients may occasionally have clients who receive a consent order. These primarily originate from the CFPB or state agencies, though there are several organizations which may issue a consent order. Typically, the client has been struggling with a particular compliance issue by the time a consent order is received. Mortgage leaders often turn to their trusted legal counsel to decide what to do next. However, with most law firms being unequipped to perform CPA audits, they will likely need to find an audit partner. Here’s what to look for:
High-quality service, even when remote.
Most consent orders allow mortgage companies to secure a CPA auditor within 30 days. However, because consent orders are publicly announced, it’s best to work with a partner who can complete the audit and suggest remediations as quickly as possible. This can help mortgage companies reduce reputational damage and “get ahead of” the news, especially if it involves customer, vendor or employee data.
Since time is of the essence and the compliance issue is persistent enough to result in a consent order, it’s important to work with an audit partner with a mortgage industry focus. Auditors that work in the mortgage industry will be familiar with terminology, company structures, typical policies and procedures and technology and tools common to the industry. Further, agencies typically focus on particular issues due to forces in the market or new regulatory requirements, so there’s a good chance an experienced auditor will have already encountered a similar consent order.
Legal counsel will also want to encourage their clients to prepare for ongoing compliance, so it’s a good idea to work with a partner who will understand what other areas may need attention. Mortgage companies may be looking for related compliance services, like cybersecurity or internal audit, or they may need new tools like benchmarking, business intelligence or budgeting & forecasting. A good audit partner, just like good legal counsel, will listen to the holistic concerns of company leaders and should be prepared to help them find the solutions they need more broadly once the consent order is handled.