FTC Creates Bad Mortgage Ads

Mock spots serve as a warning

The Federal Trade Commission has created some very bad ads. The agency did it intentionally, to show mortgage companies, real estate agents, home builders and lead generators what kinds of mortgage-related claims could land them in trouble with the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Along with the mock ads, the CFPB and FTC said they are sending warning letters to more than 30 mortgage lenders who have ads that might be misleading consumers. In the letters, the companies were advised to review ads to make sure they are in compliance with the Mortgage Acts and Practices Advertising Rule and FTC regulations.

Companies that are in violation could end up paying hefty civil penalties.

One of the FTC's ads, from the fictional HomeDeal Realty, promises: "We can get you into a home like this with a low monthly payment. Guaranteed approval for these great deals! Don't wait, call Tony today!"

A broader investigation by the FTC included the review of 800 mortgage ads placed in a variety of media including websites, Facebook, direct mail and newspapers. Deceptive claims found in the review include ads that offer a very low fixed mortgage without significant discussion of loan terms; ads that imply by statements or images that the advertiser is affiliated with a government agency; and ads that guarantee approval and low payments without discussion conditions on the offers.