Industry NewsMortgage

FTC alleges bias in loan ‘overages’

GEM Mortgage denies charging Hispanic applicants more

A Bakersfield, Calif.-based lender is disputing allegations that it charged Hispanic applicants larger "overages" than whites when pricing mortgage loans, in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The Federal Trade Commission has charged Golden Empire Mortgage Inc. and its owner, Howard Dewey Kootstra, with employing a discretionary pricing policy that resulted in Hispanics paying more for their loans, on average, than non-Hispanic whites.Golden Empire Mortgage (GEM) is a retail mortgage lender, soliciting applications for loans through employee loan officers and branch managers at about 45 branches, the FTC said. The company does business as GEM Mortgage, with "net branch" affiliates operating under other names.An attorney representing the company called the FTC's allegations baseless, and said GEM will dispute them in court.If the loans in question are compared using annual percentage rate, or APR -- the methodology commonly employed by federal regulators ...

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