Quicken Loans has been singled out by Washington state regulators over false loan advertising to military members and veterans.
The Consumer Services division of Washington state's Department of Financial Institutions has accused the home loan service company, already in a legal battle with the Department of Justice and Department of Housing and Urban Development over underwriting standards, of making false claims in direct mail advertising. According to the state consumer protection division, Quicken sent more than 60 mailers to members of the armed services and veterans offering to help them obtain Department of Veterans Affairs mortgages.
In a statement announcing the charges Washington regulators said that Quicken overstepped by using a symbol closely resembling the Department of Veterans Affairs seal as well as the phrase, "Governed by: United States Veterans Department."
"State and federal law has prohibited the use of official looking seals and emblems in mortgage advertising for years," said Charles Clark, consumer services director for Washington state's Department of Financial Institutions in the release announcing the allegations. "While Quicken Loans has policies and procedures designed to prevent advertising violations, they failed to follow those policies. DFI intends to prevent further advertising of VA loans in Washington by Quicken Loans until it can demonstrate, to our satisfaction, that it has systems in place that are reasonably designed to detect and prevent the distribution of any false, deceptive, or misleading advertising."
"More than 10 months ago, the State of Washington approached Quicken Loans asserting that there was confusion in certain mailings that were sent to potential clients in their state. We took these viewpoints seriously and conducted a thorough review to ensure we were not only offering veterans the best possible mortgage products and experience, but that we also were maintaining our award-winning service and communication throughout the entire home loan process.
"While we strongly disagree with several aspects of the State of Washington's assertions and will address each of them in response to their statement, Quicken Loans has proactively taken steps to ensure all mailings reflect our brand and quality standards," said Aaron Emerson, a spokesman for the Detroit-based lender, in an emailed statement.