Washington State Accuses Quicken Loans Of Deceiving Active Military Personnel & Veterans
The state of Washington is charging Quicken Loans with targeting 35,000 active military personnel and veterans with deceptive mortgage offers.
The Consumer Services Division of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions claims that Quicken Loans falsely implied they were associated with the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
The DFI claims that in 2014 the lender distributed more than 60 different direct mailings in the state of Washington that offered active military personnel and veterans living in Washington the opportunity to obtain VA guaranteed mortgage loans.
The DFI contends that the claims made by the lender in the mailings contain violations of state and federal laws prohibiting false, deceptive, and misleading advertising.
DFI Consumer Services Director Charles E. Clark told the Seattle PI, “Washington’s servicemembers and veterans are entitled to truthful representations concerning their VA loans,”
The DFI charged Quicken Loans with using graphics in its solicitation that are purposely designed to look like the letter was mailed by the VA including the use of the phrase “GOVERNED BY: UNITED STATES VETERANS DEPARTMENT.”
It also used an official-looking emblem, identified by Quicken Loans as the “VA Distressed Red Eagle Stamp” showing an eagle surrounded by a circle of stars.
Clark accused the lender of violating their own policies and procedures in preventing such deceptive advertising:
State and federal law have prohibited the use of official looking seals and emblems in mortgage advertising for years. While Quicken Loans has policies and procedures designed to prevent advertising violations, they failed to follow those policies.”
Quicken Loans faces $500,000 in fines for violating 13 counts of Washington’s Consumer Loan Act.
In April, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a False Claims Act lawsuit against Quickens Loans alleging Quicken Loans bullied appraisers in order to receive higher values for applicants and that underwriting managers encouraged underwriters to “fudge” the incomes of hundreds of applicants.