Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Predatory Lenders Lose one

Tennesseans to share $2.7M predatory loan settlement
Associated PressPublished: Tuesday, 07/17/07

Thousands of Tennessee consumers are eligible for a share of $2.7 million in restitution from Ameriquest Mortgage Co. and its affiliates as part of a national settlement of a predatory lending lawsuit against the companies, state officials said.
Under the settlement, more than 481,000 borrowers who were customers of Ameri quest Mortgage Co., Town and Country Credit Corp., and AMC Mortgage Services Inc. between Jan. 1, 1999, and Dec. 31, 2005, are eligible for the restitution payments.
In Tennessee, about 5,690 consumers are eligible for shares of the settlement, which is estimated to be $325 million nationally.
The settlement resolves allegations that Ameriquest and its affiliates, among other things, misrepresented and did not adequately disclose the terms of home loans, such as whether a loan carried a fixed or an adjustable rate.
Other allegations were that Ameriquest and its affiliates charged excessive loan origination fees and prepayment penalties, and improperly in flated appraisals used to qualify borrowers for loans.

As a Housing Counselor with a HUD-approved non-profit organization providing Loss Mitigation and Mortgage Default counseling, I witness the abuse by the low-life predatory lenders. I have witnessed customers who were refinanced five times in five years with each refinance stripping equity from the home until the customer lost their home. I know of one clients who's annual income was less than her annual house payment and the loan officer was aware of her income when he took the loan application. I have seen fraudulent appraisals and phony gift letters. I am pleased justice was served in this case. Hopefully Ameriquest will mend their ways and this will send a message to other lender. Real justice would result in some predatory lenders ending up in jail. Rod

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