The CFPB has announced another enforcement action targeting alleged deceptive mortgage advertising to veterans. The Bureau claims that the defendant lender targeted veterans with ads that falsely implied an affiliation between the mortgage lender and the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Federal Housing Administration. This allegedly violated the 2011 Mortgage Acts and Practices Advertising Rule. The Bureau added TILA and Reg Z claims for failing to disclose interest rates and monthly payment amounts in the ads. The parties simultaneously filed a consent order settling the matter for $250,000. The Bureau capped off its announcements with a detailed blog post by Holly Petreus warning consumers, “The VA doesn’t send you mortgage ads.”
This follows three February 2014 enforcement actions against other mortgage lenders for similar alleged deceptive advertising practices. One of those actions is still being litigated in federal court in Maryland, Case No. 1:15-cv-00420-JFM. (The other two lenders settled immediately for five- and six-figure settlements). These actions demonstrate the CFPB’s continued laser focus on mortgage advertising and military borrowers.