Benchmark Title Company, LLC


Predatory Lending, What is it?

Sarah Holdener

The following information, portions of which were excerpted from a Brochure published by the Attorneys Title Guaranty Fund, Inc., may well be a partial cause of some of the issues which created the mortgage crisis we find in the Real Estate industry today.

Predatory lending describes a lending practice wherein the deceptive promise of low interest rates, combined with hidden fees and other unscrupulous acts, are employed by lenders to attract borrowers without regard for their ability to repay the loan. The ultimate consequence is that some of the victims are forced into foreclosure.

Predatory lenders usually target those who, because of poor credit history, or limited income, believe they can not afford a traditional mortgage. While the elderly and low- income borrowers are the typical targets, no one is immune to predatory lending practices.

Homeowners seeking to refinance or to obtain a home equity loan to pay bills or make home improvements are especially vulnerable.

A typical victim was an elderly woman in Washington D.C., whose mortgage company flipped her loan repeatedly, charging her more than $30,000 in fees over several years. The company refinanced her loan five times in five years, charging her lender fees totaling more than 10 percent of the total loan balance. The woman almost lost her home that she had lived in for more than 35 years.

While loan flipping, or selling on the secondary market, can be a legitimate practice, the woman in this scenario was taken advantage of by an unscrupulous lender.  The vast majority of the lenders out there are very reliable and honest, be aware of the “If it sounds to good to be true, It likely is”. Much lower interest rates than the market is a clue to potential questionable practices. The local newspapers often publish the interest rates offered by local lenders in their weekend issues, generally in the Real Estate section.

Consumer protection organizations and the media are attempting to educate the public about the problem of predatory lending and Congress is now considering legislation. Many states have passed laws that attempt to restrict predatory lending by imposing heavy penalties on those who engage in the practice.

While the problem persists, there are ways to avoid these scams and some of those ways will be addressed in a future “Title Tip”


Any questions can be directed to Benchmark Title at 618-239-3750. Please feel free to call or email:  

John Howe

Doreen Miller, Esq.
Commercial Division Manager

Michelle Null
VP Escrow Operations

Bethany Bond
Marketing Director

Serving you from three convenient locations:

Main Office:
1124 Hartman Lane
Shiloh, IL 62221
Ph: 618-239-3750
Escrow Fax: 618-239-3707
Title Fax: 618-239-3757
Fax Orders: 618-310-1589
President: John Howe

318 North Main St.
Columbia, IL 62236
Ph: 618-281-9700
Fax: 618-281-9705
Manager: Randi Schur

4215 S. State Rte 159
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Ph: 618-288-1695
Fax: 618-288-1852
Manager: Sara Sowell

Dates to Remember

November 3rd - Home Builders Association of Greater Southwestern Illinois (HBA) Annual Charity Auction
At The Falls Convention Center

November 8th - Realtors Listing Exchange will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Rusty's in Edwardsville.  Please contact Bethany Bond for details.

November 9th - GGAR "Tools of the Trade Program"
8:30 a.m. at Hampton Inn, Glen Carbon

November 12th - Officed Closed for Veteran's Day

November 14th - HBA Sales and Marketing Concil Meeting
8:00 a.m. at Four Points Sheraton, Fairview Heights

November 15th - Realtors Listing Exchange will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Joe Boccardi's in Columbia.  Please contact Bethany Bond for details.

Did you say free?

Be the first in your office to try out, Benchmark Title's new FREE online transaction management system. Why waste time making status phone calls or standing by the fax waiting for your title commitment when you can get what you need instantly from your own computer. Visit for more information or call April Tolan, our SureClose Specialist, at 618-239-3750 for your sign-on so you can start saving yourself time and money today. We'll even give you and your clients a free CD at closing containing copies of their closing documents.

Give me my policy!

Did you know that lenders and home buyers now receive their title policies at the closing table? Contact Michelle Null, VP Escrow Operations, to learn more about this exciting new program.

Ready to refi?

Lenders and homeowners will want to hear about our fantastically low new refinance rates. Contact us today for a quote!

Why wait?

You can place your next title order now by clicking here.

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