Mike Kovack

Mike Kovack
Medina County Auditor

144 N. Broadway St, Medina, OH  44256
Medina:  (330) 725-9754     Toll free:  (844) 722-3800, ext. 9754

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Predatory Loans & Lenders

Avoid Predatory Loans

As a borrower, you have rights. To get the best deal, follow this advice from the Center for Responsible Lending, MSN Money and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
  • Don't take the first deal offered. Shop around.
  • Don't sign something you don't understand. Ask questions and talk to a trusted friend or adviser.
  • Don't fall for high-pressure sales tactics.
  • Don't trust ads promising: "No Credit? No Problem!"
  • Don't sign blank forms that the lender promises to fill in later.
  • Don't borrow more money than you need.
  • Don't accept payment terms that you can't meet.
  • Don't agree to balloon payments. This large sum of money due at the end of a loan could cost borrowers their home if they can't meet the payment or refinance the loan (usually at an excessive cost).
  • Don't purchase credit insurance with your loan. Usually this insurance is extremely profitable for the lender but provides little benefit to the borrower.
Spot Predatory Lenders
According to the Center for Responsible Lending, predatory lenders promise loans that sound too good to be true. Below are the Seven Signs of Predatory Lending:
  • Excessive Fees:  Fees below one percent of the loan are typical on competitive loans. Fees totaling more than five percent of the loan are typical of predatory loans.
  • Abusive Prepayment Penalties:  These are fees imposed for paying off the loan early.  An abusive prepayment penalty is one that costs more than six months interest or is effective more than three years.
  • Kickbacks to Brokers:  A "Yield Spread Premium" or YSP is a cash bonus that a lender gives a broker for placing borrowers in a loan with a higher than normal interest rate. The higher the interest rate, the higher the kickback to the broker, at your expense.
  • Loan Flipping:  Refinancing a loan to generate fee income, without providing any net tangible benefit to the borrower, constitutes flipping.
  • Unnecessary Products:  Lenders should not sell unnecessary insurance or other products along with the loan.
  • Mandatory Arbitration:  Borrowers are not allowed to seek legal remedies in court if their home is threatened by loans with illegal or abusive terms.
  • Steering & Targeting:  "Steering" borrowers into a "subprime" mortgage when they could qualify for a mainstream loan.

For more information on predatory loans and lenders, please contact:

The Ohio Attorney General's Office
The Ohio Department of Commerce
AARP Consumer Affairs Division