HighTechLending charged with misleading ads for reverse mortgages

by Francis Monfort23 Oct 2017
HighTechLending is facing charges that advertising material it used to offer reverse mortgages to seniors age 62 and older was false, deceptive, and misleading.

The Consumer Services Division of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) made the charges against the California-based company. The statement of charges seeks a final order requiring HighTechLending to cease and desist from engaging in false advertising practices, pay a $300,000 fine, and pay an investigative fee.

According to the DFI, HighTechLending’s materials falsely represented that borrowers could stay in their homes for life without making monthly payments. Its advertising also downplayed the risks of default and foreclosure.

“We will not tolerate deceptive advertising of reverse mortgage products to Washington residents,” DFI Director of Consumer Services Charlie Clark said. “Washington’s seniors need to be well-informed about reverse mortgages before taking out such loans, and there is no place in our state for reverse mortgage advertisements that are false or misleading.”

HighTechLending was charged with using deceptive solicitations, brochures, Internet websites, YouTube videos, and Facebook pages to promote the Federal Housing Administration’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage reverse mortgage program.

“Besides misleading consumers, false advertising harms competition and takes business away from law-abiding mortgage brokers and consumer loan companies,” Clark said.

The DFI said existing state and federal laws already require reverse mortgage lenders to market loans with truthful, accurate information. The DFI also said that since it started its investigation, it has been informed that the company has adopted policies and procedures designed to prevent reverse mortgage advertising violations.

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