The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has taken 1st Alliance Lending and three of its top executives to court for allegedly engaging in various illegal mortgage-lending practices.
Filed in the US District Court for the District of Connecticut, the lawsuit claims that the Hartford, Conn.-based home lender – with the participation, knowledge, and direction of its managing executives John Christopher DiIorio (CEO), Kevin Robert St. Lawrence, and Socrates Aramburu – violated the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Mortgage Acts and Practices—Advertising Rule (MAP Rule), and the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA).
1st Alliance originated residential mortgages from 2004 to September 2019, halting its operations in November 2019 due to fraud allegations.
In the course of its mortgage lending business, 1st Alliance allegedly used unlicensed employees – rather than licensed loan officers – to engage in mortgage origination activities. The Bureau said that the activities were in violation of the TILA and Regulation Z, and were illegal under state law.
“1st Alliance’s use of unqualified sales employees to deprive consumers of critical, accurate, and timely loan information was unfair,” CFPB said in the court filing. “The Bureau also alleges that 1st Alliance violated Regulation Z by requiring consumers to submit documents verifying information relating to the consumer’s residential-mortgage-loan application before providing them a Loan Estimate.”
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Moreover, CFPB alleges that 1st Alliance employees denied credit to consumers based on information in their consumer report during the same period. And when they did respond to the applications, the company failed to give consumers the “adverse action” notice required under FCRA and ECOA.
1st Alliance also repeatedly violated the MAP Rule and CFPA by misleading representations, omissions, or engaging in practices “concerning whether 1st Alliance’s employees were licensed mortgage-loan originators, whether the consumer had been preapproved or guaranteed for a particular program or term, and whether and on what terms the consumer was likely to obtain refinancing.”
The Bureau’s complaint seeks injunctions against the defendants, as well as damages, redress to consumers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and the imposition of civil money penalties.