Connecticut authorities have issued a temporary cease-and-desist order to Mortgage Lenders Network USA Inc., claiming the company made at least 97 loans in the state at the end of December that it did not fund or failed to fund in a timely manner, imposed excessive charges on five loans it refinanced, and employed at least 40 loan originators not registered with the state.

The cease-and-desist order said that beginning in July, MLN also failed to fund 1,409 loans in other states in a timely fashion, and said the company faces up to $7.6 million in penalties. The order requires MLN to “cease and desist all actions which violate the Connecticut General Statues” and places the company on notice that it faces a fine up to $100,000 per violation.

The Hartford, Conn.-based lender shut down its wholesale lending division in December after reportedly losing the lines of credit it needed to make loans the company sold to investors in the secondary market.

Company officials said this month they had reached a deal with Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. to finance loans that were closed but not funded, and were looking for a buyer for MLN’s wholesale division while continuing to operate a $19 billion servicing business and a smaller retail lending division.

In a statement today, Connecticut State Banking Commissioner Howard F. Pitkin said the cease-and-desist order was issued after “days of negotiation between eight states and the company in an attempt to have MLN fund as many outstanding loans as possible.”

Pitkin said the company was given time to fund nearly 400 loans outstanding nationwide before the cease-and-desist order was issued.

MLN senior vice president and general counsel Steve Olearcek did not immediately return a call for comment. 

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