Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

En Español

Monday, February 6, 2006


DFI Recognizes the Eighth Annual National Consumer Protection Week

Olympia, WA – The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions is raising awareness of predatory lending during National Consumer Protection Week, February 5-11. In an effort to help consumers recognize the signs of mortgage fraud, DFI announced the release of a new online guide to home loans.

Consumers are encouraged to view the information on the department’s website. The guide covers such topics as: questions to ask your lender and tips to avoid predatory lending. It provides explanations and samples of closing documents and includes links to mortgage calculators and a variety of resources.

DFI produced the CD ROM entitled, “DFI’s Guide to Home Loans,” following the resolution of the nation’s largest predatory lending case. The CD-ROM is free and can be ordered on the department’s website. CDs are made available at home shows and fairs and used by realtors and mortgage brokers to educate their clients. To date, over 15,000 CDs have been distributed. Later this spring, the information will be available in Spanish.

For more information about predatory lending and to view DFI’s Scam of the Day during National Consumer Protection Week, visit the department’ National Consumer Protection Week web pages.

What is Predatory Lending?
Lending and mortgage origination practices become “predatory” when the borrower is led into a transaction that is not what they expected. It can best be described as mortgage fraud practiced against consumers. The acts involved often take the form of deception or misrepresentations concerning loan products, loan amounts, interest rates, loan costs, monthly payment plans, and prepayment penalties.

About Consumer Protection Week
National Consumer Protection Week is recognized by federal, state, and local government agencies and national consumer advocacy organizations across the nation. The first week in February is set aside each year to empower consumers in the fight against fraud in communities.

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Scott Kinney, Director of Communications, DFI