PROVIDENCE – One of the nation’s largest mortgage bankers, Freedom Mortgage Corp., has settled federal charges that it violated the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act by agreeing to pay a $1.8 million fine, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced.
New Jersey-based Freedom Mortgage, which does business in Rhode Island and has an office in Warwick, signed a consent order agreeing to pay the civil penalty and to take steps to improve its compliance management to prevent future violations, the bureau said.
“The bureau found that Freedom violated [the law] by submitting mortgage loan data for 2014 to 2017 that contained errors,” the agency said in a statement. “The bureau found that Freedom reported inaccurate race, ethnicity and sex information and that much of Freedom’s loan officers’ recording of this incorrect information was intentional.”
The agency said certain loan officers were told by managers or other loan officers that when applicants did not provide their race or ethnicity, they should categorize them as non-Hispanic white, regardless of whether that was accurate.
Founded in 1990, Freedom Mortgage, headquartered in Mount Laurel, N.J., celebrated its 1 millionth borrower last year. The company is licensed in all 50 states.
Established in 2011 through passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the bureau is responsible for consumer protection in the financial sector. The agency’s jurisdiction includes banks, credit unions, securities firms, payday lenders, mortgage-servicing operations, foreclosure-relief services, debt collectors and other financial companies.
Scott Blake is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Blake@PBN.com.