CFPB Settles With VA Lender Regarding Claims of Deception
The CFPB recently filed a complaint and a proposed stipulated final judgment and order to address claims that Village Capital & Investments LLC (Village) engaged in deceptive acts and practices in the solicitation of veterans for mortgage refinance loans to be guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The CFPB asserts that between March 2017 and August 2018 Village employed loan officers in its San Antonio, Texas office who were responsible for making in-home sales presentations to veterans for VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loans to be made by Village. This type of loan is the VA version of a streamlined refinance loan that is primarily intended to provide a veteran borrower with a lower interest rate and monthly payment. The CFPB states that Village provided the loan officers with marketing materials for the in-home presentations, including a worksheet that would be used to compare the veteran’s current loan with a proposed refinance loan.
The CFPB asserts that that the worksheets were deceptive because they misrepresented the cost savings to the consumer of the refinanced loan by:
Inflating the future amount of principal owed under the veteran’s existing mortgage loan by underestimating the proportion of the consumer’s existing monthly payment that is applied to principal.
Underestimating the future amount of the monthly payments on the proposed refinance loan by overestimating the term of the loan.
Overestimating the total monthly benefit of the proposed refinance loan after the first month.
Without the adjudication of any issue of fact or law, to settle the matter Village agreed to pay $268,869 for the purpose of providing redress to affected consumers, and also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $260,000. Village further agreed not to misrepresent to consumers in connection with the offering of refinance loans (1) the future principal or future monthly payments owed on the consumer’s existing mortgage loan, or (2) the future principal or future monthly payments a consumer would owe on a refinance mortgage loan. Additionally, Village must develop a compliance plan that includes training for loan officers.