FTC bans advance fees for loan mod help

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For-profit companies that provide "foreclosure rescue" and loan modification services will be barred from collecting fees in advance beginning Jan. 31 under new rules issued by the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC’s Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) rule prohibits for-profit mortgage-relief companies from collecting fees for their services until homeowners have received a written offer from their lender or loan servicer that the borrower deems acceptable.

The offer must be accompanied by a document from the lender or loan servicer describing the changes to the borrower’s mortgage that would result if they accept the offer.