The Pennsylvania Department of Banking has warned mortgage lenders and marketers to stop sending people misleading mailings that imply they came from the recipient's current lender or the federal government.
The mailings, according to department spokesman Ed Novak, use the logo of the original lender and tell the consumer that their loan is under review and they need to telephone.
The name of the real entity that sent the letter — a competing lender — in some cases is seen only in the fine print.
It took only a few complaints to prompt the banking agency to issue the warning last month, Novak said.
Secretary of Banking Steve Kaplan declared the mailings were "intended to frighten and confuse consumers."
Also last month, the department fined Equity Loans LLC of Atlanta $500 for sending a Pennsylvanian a solicitation that "appeared to be notifying the consumer of a problem with their current mortgage whereas in reality, it was a solicitation for business."
An April 29 consent agreement said Equity Loans told the department "that the violation was unintentional" and that the lender stopped doing business with the marketing firm that did the solicitation.