Benchmark Title Company, LLC


Red Flags of Predatory Lending

John Howe

Red Flags of Predatory Lending

While many predatory lenders employ persuasive sales people, those same salespeople send out signals that an educated and aware consumer will recognize. Some of those signals follow.

A. Recommending that you apply for more money than you need and that you accept larger monthly payments than you think you can afford. Just because your income to expense ratio shows you should be able to afford “X” amount of dollars does not mean that you can, based on your living habits.

B. Suggesting that you gloss over or falsify even the smallest bit of information on the loan application. That could well be considered fraud on your part and you need to be aware of the possible consequences.

C. Misrepresenting the kind of loan you are getting, for example calling a one time fixed rate loan a “Line of Credit”, or some other kind of loan that is not what you want.

D. Promising one set of loan terms when you apply, then giving you a different set of terms at the closing. This is a big one and seen very often when out of state, or Internet lenders are offering the products. It is always better to work with a local, reputable lender.

E. Encouraging you to sign forms that fail to disclose important loan terms such as interest rate, fees, payment amounts, balloon payments, or pre-payment penalties.

Predatory lenders will most often contact their victims through cold calls, either phone or direct mail, or referred by some disreputable home repair scam trying to get you to borrow funds to pay for their repairs. It is not a wise decision to make major financial commitments based on unsolicited phone calls or sales literature from an unknown company.

It is wise to contact two to three local lenders when you feel the need to secure a loan, either for the purchase of your dream home, or to remodel or add to your existing residence.

As I stated in my previous “Title Tip” regarding predatory lending,” If it sounds too good to be true, It likely is.”  

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 22 & 23 - Office Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday

December 4 - GGAR Holiday Party
11:00 a.m. at Meridian Ballroom, Edwardsville, IL 

December 12 - HBA Sales and Marketing Council Meeting
8:00 a.m. at Four Points Sheraton, Fairview Heights, IL

January 18, 2008 - HBA Annual Installation Banquet
At Four Points Sheraton Conference Center, Fairview Heights, IL

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