The CFPB has the authority to take action against companies engaging in deceptive practices in the consumer financial marketplace.
By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog, July 28, 2015
CFPB, Washington, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is reporting it took action today against Paymap Inc. and LoanCare, LLC for deceiving consumers with advertisements for a mortgage payment program that promised tens of thousands of dollars in interest savings from more frequent mortgage payments. Under the terms of the orders announced today, Paymap will return $33.4 million in fees to consumers and pay a $5 million civil penalty to the CFPB, and LoanCare will pay a $100,000 civil penalty.
“Deceptive advertising has no place in the financial marketplace,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Today’s action is delivering relief for consumers deceived by Paymap and LoanCare, and sending a clear message that these practices will not be tolerated.”
The CFPB found that Paymap and LoanCare violated the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s prohibition against deceptive acts and practices. Specifically, the Bureau found that consumers were:
- Lured with deceptive promises of savings: Paymap made claims on its website such as, “The average customer will achieve over $33,000 in interest savings” using the Equity Accelerator Program. However, Paymap had no factual basis to support this claim. Moreover, only a tiny percentage, if any, of its customers achieved that amount of interest savings.
- Misled about when their payments would be applied: Paymap and LoanCare told consumers in their direct mail solicitations that enrolling in the Equity Accelerator Program would change the consumers’ payoff schedule to “every 2 weeks.” Although Paymap makes more frequent withdrawals from consumers’ accounts in the Equity Accelerator Program, it does not actually make more frequent payments on consumers’ mortgages. Instead, Paymap holds the collected payments in custodial accounts, and then pays consumers’ mortgages on their original monthly schedule. Consumers are charged a transaction fee with every withdrawal. Any interest savings that consumers may achieve through the Equity Accelerator Program is because they make a higher annual mortgage payment in the program, using the same payment schedule as before enrollment.
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Jeff Sorg is a co-founder of OnlineEd®, an online real estate, mortgage broker, and vocational school founded in 1997, where he also serves as Chief Executive Officer, and School Director. Sorg holds vocational and post-secondary school instructor licenses in several states and has authored numerous real estate continuing education and pre-licensing courses and has been awarded the International Distance Education Certification Center’s CDEi Designation for distance education. Memberships include ARELLO (Association of Real Estate License Law Officials), the National Association of REALTORS®, Oregon Association of REALTORS®, and Portland Metro Association of REALTORS®. Awards and service include REALTOR® Emeritus in the National Association, Life Member award in Portland Metro Association and Chairperson of the Oregon Real Estate Forms Committee.
OnlineEd® provides real estate, mortgage broker, insurance, and contractor pre-license, post-license, continuing education, career enhancement, and professional development and designation courses over the Internet.