COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
COMMISSIONER OF BANKS
MORTGAGE BROKER AND
MORTGAGE LOAN ORIGINATOR
In the Matter of
REVERSE MORTGAGE HELPDESK
Las Vegas, Nevada
The Commissioner of Banks ("Commissioner") is charged with the administration of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 255E, and applicable regulations found at 209 CMR 42.00 et seq., relating to the licensing of mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers; and Massachusetts General Laws chapter 255F and applicable regulations found at 209 CMR 41.00 et seq., relating to the licensing of mortgage loan originators.
Pursuant to the authority granted by Massachusetts General Laws chapter 255E, the Commissioner has investigated the activities of Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk located at 848 North Rainbow Boulevard, Suite 630, Las Vegas, Nevada to determine if Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk has engaged in the business of, or is about to engage in, acts or practices constituting violations of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 255E and Massachusetts General Laws chapter 255F. Based upon such investigation, the Massachusetts Division of Banks ("Division") hereby issues the following CEASE DIRECTIVE ("Cease Directive") as a result of the findings alleged herein.
A. FINDINGS OF FACT
- Massachusetts General Laws chapter 255E, section 2 relative to the licensing requirements for entities engaged in the business of a mortgage lender and/or mortgage broker states in part:
No person shall act as a mortgage broker or mortgage lender with respect to residential property unless first obtaining a license from the commissioner.
- Massachusetts General Laws chapter 255E, section 1 defines a mortgage broker as:
any person who for compensation or gain, or in the expectation of compensation or gain, directly or indirectly negotiates, places, assists in placement, finds or offers to negotiate, place, assist in placement or find mortgage loans on residential property for others.
- Massachusetts General Laws chapter 255F section 2 relative to the licensing requirements for mortgage loan originators states:
Section 2. (a) No individual shall act as a mortgage loan originator with respect to any dwelling unless such person has first obtained a mortgage loan originator license from the commissioner or is exempt from the licensure requirement under subsection (b). No person shall knowingly employ or retain a mortgage loan originator unless the mortgage loan originator is licensed under this chapter or is exempt from the licensure requirement under subsection (b). Each licensed mortgage loan originator shall register with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry and shall maintain a valid unique identifier issued by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry.
- Massachusetts General Laws chapter 93A, section 2(a) states:
Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful.
- On or about May 25, 2011, the Division reviewed a website maintained by Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk at www.reversemortgagehelpdesk.com. The website contained information about reverse mortgage loans.
- On every page, the website contains a link "Get a Free Quote Now!" and directly above the link it states, "Freedom Awaits! Find Out How Much You Are Eligible For!"
- Massachusetts consumers who are interested in "Getting a Free Quote" are directed to complete certain information, including but not limited to; the prospective borrower's name, telephone numbers, email address, age of youngest homeowner, estimated home value, estimated mortgage balance, and zip code. In addition, every page contains a toll free telephone number at the top where the consumer can call to get more information. Each of the items requested by Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk are necessary to complete a reverse mortgage loan application.
- The webpages "How it Works", "The Process", and "Common Misconceptions", state in pertinent part, "Call us today toll free at 1-800-250-8810 to speak to a reverse mortgage expert or complete the Quick Quote form to find out how much money is available to you today."
- The bottom of every webpage also contains a section titled, "Reverse Mortgages by State" where the consumer can review reverse mortgage information by state, including Massachusetts. Upon selecting Massachusetts, the prospective borrower is directed to enter the personal information referenced in Paragraph 7 to get a free quote.
- After entering the information referenced in Paragraph 7 in order to get a free quote, the prospective borrower receives a statement that reads, "Thank you for filling out our online quote form. We will be contacting you shortly to discuss your options."
- The website contained certain representations concerning Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk's ability to assist prospective borrowers finding reverse mortgage loans. The webpage "How it Works" states in pertinent part, "It's important that you allow us [Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk] connect you with a reputable lender." The webpage "The Process" states in pertinent part, "It's extremely important that you allow us [Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk] connect you with a professional, competent, reverse mortgage lender…"
- As of the date of this Cease Directive, the website maintained by Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk continues to be operational.
B. CEASE DIRECTIVE
- Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk, and any and all officers, members, managers, employees, independent contractors, or agents, operating on behalf of Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk, and their successors or assigns, shall immediately cease engaging in the activities of: (a) a mortgage broker, as those activities are defined under Massachusetts General Laws chapter 255E, section 1; and (b) a mortgage loan originator, as those activities are defined under Massachusetts General Laws chapter 255F, section 1, relative to any residential property in Massachusetts. Therefore, Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk is ordered to immediately cease soliciting or accepting, either directly or indirectly, any personal information, contact information or applications from prospective borrowers for property located in Massachusetts until such time that Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk has obtained a license to conduct business in the Commonwealth pursuant to General Laws chapter 255E, section 2.
- Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk shall submit to the Commissioner a detailed record, prepared as of the date of submission, of all contact and borrower property information obtained from Massachusetts consumers. The records to be produced shall be submitted to the Commissioner within five (5) days of the effective date of this Cease Directive and shall include all information on file.
- Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk must submit a response within five (5) days of receipt of this Cease Directive. The response must indicate whether Reverse Mortgage Helpdesk will seek to be licensed as mortgage broker. The response submitted must also include a signed copy of the enclosed affidavit, attesting that Revere Mortgage Helpdesk will immediately cease from engaging in any unlicensed or unauthorized mortgage brokering activity including any use of advertising or soliciting information from prospective borrowers in Massachusetts until such time as a license and/or approval to engage in such activities is issued by the Commissioner.
BY ORDER AND DIRECTION OF THE COMMISSIONER OF BANKS.
Dated at Boston, Massachusetts, this 23rd day of August, 2011
David J. Cotney
Commissioner of Banks