Date: May 10, 2010
Deceptive Correspondence – "Notice Regarding Predatory Lending"
To: Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks; All State Banking Authorities; Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsel and All Examining Personnel
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has been notified by several national banks that bank customers have received notices indicating that their institution is being investigated for predatory lending. The allegations made within the documents are false, and the sender is neither a bank regulator nor a representative of any other government agency.
The Idaho Department of Finance has issued a cease and desist order against the sender, California-based “Relief Law Center (also known as USA Loan Auditors),” http://finance.idaho.gov/PR/2010/Relief%20Law%20Center.pdf stemming from alleged unlawful mortgage modification solicitations targeting Idaho homeowners.
The correspondence uses scare tactics to urge consumers to contact the organization at (888) 637-5482. The document falsely states that “Failure to respond to this notice may affect your legal rights,” which has led consumers to believe that they may lose their homes.
Consumers who are having difficulty making their mortgage payments or who receive an alleged foreclosure notice should contact their lender immediately. For further legitimate assistance, contact:
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at (800) 569-4287 or (877) 483-1515, or go to www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hccprof14.cfm.
- HOPE NOW—Call (888) 995-HOPE, the Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline to reach a nonprofit, HUD-approved counselor through HOPE NOW, a cooperative effort of mortgage counselors and lenders to assist homeowners.
- NeighborWorks America through their Web site at www.nw.org/network/home.asp
Consumers who receive mortgage modification solicitations should research the license status of the company making the solicitation prior to making contact or providing personal information to them. If you believe that the company is acting in an unethical or questionable fashion, please report the company to the Federal Trade Commission, your state’s finance department, or state and local consumer protection agencies. If the question involves a national bank, and the question cannot be resolved with the bank directly, contact the OCC’s Customer Assistance Group by calling (800) 613-6743 or by visiting www.HelpWithMyBank.gov.
Any information regarding the subject of this or any other alert that you wish to bring to the attention of the OCC may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Comptroller of the Currency offers the following consumer resources:
- Tips to Avoid Mortgage Modification and Foreclosure Scams: www.occ.gov/news-issuances/consumer-advisories/2009/consumer-advisory-2009-1.html.
- Beware of Foreclosure Rescue Scams: http://www.occ.treas.gov/news-issuances/psa/beware-of-foreclosure-prevention-scams-feature.pdf.
- Making Home Affordable: www.occ.gov/news-issuances/consumer-advisories/2009/consumer-advisory-2009-1.html.
Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance