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What are Common Violations demonstrated by Predatory Lenders

Predatory lending is defined as intentionally placing consumers in loan products with significantly worse terms and/or higher costs than loans offered to similarly qualified consumers in the region for the primary purpose of enriching the originator and with little or no regard for the costs to the consumer.

Excessive Free

Points and fees are costs not directly reflected in interest rates. Because these costs can be financed, they are easy to disguise or downplay. On competitive loans, fees below 1% of the loan amount are typical. In the case of predatory lending, mortgage fees totaling more than 5% of the loan amount are common.

Abusive Prepayment Penalities

Borrowers with higher interest subprime loans have a strong incentive to refinance as soon as their credit improves. However, up to 80% of all subprime mortgages carry a prepayment penalty (a fee for paying off a loan early). An abusive prepayment penalty found in predatory lending is typically effective more than three years and/or costs more than six months’ interest. In the prime market, only about 2% of home loans carry prepayment penalties of any length.

Kickbacks TO Brokers

When brokers deliver a loan with an inflated interest rate (i.e., higher than the rate acceptable to the lender), the lender often pays a “yield spread premium” — a kickback for making the loan more costly to the borrower.

Loan Flipping

A lender “flips”or “churns” a borrower by refinancing a loan to generate fee income without providing any net tangible benefit to the borrower. This form of predatory lending can quickly drain borrower equity and increase monthly payments, sometimes even on homes that were previously owned free of debt.

Steering & Targesting

Some loan contracts require “mandatory arbitration,” which means the borrowers are not allowed to seek legal remedies in a court if they find that their home is threatened by abusive terms or other predatory lending practices. Mandatory arbitration makes it much less likely that borrowers will receive fair and appropriate remedies in cases of predatory lending.

Mandatory Arbitration

Some loan contracts require “mandatory arbitration,” which means the borrowers are not allowed to seek legal remedies in a court if they find that their home is threatened by abusive terms or other predatory lending practices. Mandatory arbitration makes it much less likely that borrowers will receive fair and appropriate remedies in cases of predatory lending.

Unnecessary Products

Sometimes borrowers may pay more than necessary because lenders sell and finance unnecessary insurance or other products along with the loan. This is known as an “upsell” in the business and the original lender may receive cash kickbacks for this act, resulting in a RESPA violation.

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