Washington State Charges Lender with Deceptive HECM Marketing

October 20, 2017
The Consumer Services Division of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has charged Irvine, Calif.-based HighTechLending with using misleading and false advertising to target seniors age 62 and older with reverse mortgage offers. The DFI is seeking a final order requiring the company to cease and desist from engaging in false advertising practices and pay both a $300,000 fine and a to-be-determined investigative fee.
The DFI claimed HighTechLending put forth deceptive solicitations, brochures, Internet websites, YouTube videos and Facebook pages to promote the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) reverse mortgage program. The department alleged the company’s marketing materials, which were relied on and used by its eight Washington-licensed branches, intentionally misrepresented HECM loan terms and did not disclose the risks of default and foreclosure.
“We will not tolerate deceptive advertising of reverse mortgage products to Washington residents,” DFI’s Director of Consumer Services Charlie Clark said. “Washington’s seniors need to be well informed about reverse mortgages before taking out such loans, and there is no place in our state for reverse mortgage advertisements that are false or misleading.”