Division Of Banks Issues Consumer Alert

For Immediate Release

Contact: Thomas J. Curry

November 18, 2002

Division of Banks (617) 956-1500 x 1510

DIVISION OF BANKS ISSUES CONSUMER ALERT:
UNLICENSED MORTGAGE ACTIVITY ON THE NORTH SHORE

Director of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Jennifer Davis Carey and Commissioner of Banks Thomas J. Curry today released a special advisory informing consumers that Home Financing Centers, Inc., (Gary J. Kovner, principal) located at 112-114 Burrill Street in Swampscott is believed to be acting illegally as a mortgage lender and/or mortgage broker. Despite previously misrepresenting itself as holding a current license from the Division of Banks, Home Financing Centers, Inc. has not been licensed since May 31, 2001. A seven-page Order to Cease and Desist was issued today against Home Financing Centers, Inc.

"Consumers need to know that they are taking a huge risk by dealing with a company that is unlicensed and has no business acting as a mortgage lender or mortgage broker", explained Director Carey. Commissioner Curry also noted, "While Massachusetts law makes it illegal for any person to act as a mortgage lender or mortgage broker without first obtaining a license from the Division of Banks, it is also an unfair and deceptive act for a licensed mortgage lender or mortgage broker to conduct business with a person or company which is not licensed."

"Today's media advisory, therefore, serves two purposes", Carey explained. "First, we hope to better educate consumers and warn them to stay away from unlicensed entities. Second, by informing the mainstream industry of unlicensed activity, we effectively put them on notice that they will also be breaking the law and threatening their licensed status by working with unlicensed companies. Through these efforts, I believe we will best protect Massachusetts consumers by effectively eliminating the ability of these entities to act outside of the law."

Director Carey and Commissioner Curry further advised anyone wishing to verify the licensing status of a mortgage lender or mortgage broker to call the Division of Banks' Consumer Hotline at 1-800-495-BANK x 1501. Consumers can also inquire as to whether there are any complaints outstanding against a licensed mortgage lender or mortgage broker.