Some of the more common advertising violations are:
Using terms in a comparative or superlative degree to describe any aspect of the business or any terms applicable to loans negotiated by the broker, without setting forth in the ad additional information to render the superlative or comparative terms unambiguous in the context in which they are used. For example, a broker who advertises "FAST LOANS" must also set forth in the ad how "fast is fast" (e.g. "most loans closed in 90 days from application"). A broker who advertises "LOW RATES" should also set forth in the ad what rates are available so that the term "LOW" is actually defined. It should be noted that the Department may require the broker to substantiate any claims made in an ad or require additional qualifiers in the ad to ensure the ad is not misleading to the public.
Advertising a specific payment for a loan without including in the ad an equally prominent disclosure of the loan’s interest rate, APR, principal amount, number, amount and period of payments scheduled to maturity and the balance due at maturity if not a fully amortized loan.
Advertising an interest rate without disclosing whether the rate is for first mortgages, junior loans or both.
Advertising a loan program with special qualifying restrictions or special requirements without setting forth those requirements or restrictions in the ad.
Advertising an interest rate without an equally prominent disclosure of the APR. It should be noted that if a rate appears in an ad without an APR, a disclosure of "APR NOT CALCULATED" is not sufficient. An APR must be disclosed if a rate appears in the ad.
In addition to the above examples, which are based on specific subsections of the regulation, phrases and words used in advertising can be misleading in themselves. "No Cost" loans and "No Fee" loans are such words. All real property secured loans have certain inherent costs, such as title insurance, escrow, appraisal, recording fees, etc. These services are bought and paid for by the borrower in all loan transactions. In the cases where a broker arranges a premium priced loan where a lender rebate is used to pay for these services, the services are still performed and the costs incurred. The borrower pays the costs of the services via a higher interest rate than would be available if the borrower paid for the services out-of-pocket. In effect, the borrower finances the closing costs over the entire life of the loan. Although there may be no out-of-pocket costs to the borrower, clearly there are fees and costs involved, contrary to the claims in these ads.