Company Inspired by Predatory Lenders; Launches Web site to Help Protect Borrowers
Scottsdale, AZ -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/25/2007 -- A new web site, Offer Angel (www.offerangel.com), has been launched to help borrowers nationwide protect themselves from predatory lending practices.
Mortgage lenders are required to use an online mortgage offer form detailing the terms of their mortgage loans. This information is used to create a Personalized Mortgage Report for the borrower. This report provides an unbiased review of the mortgage offers and their terms, so borrowers have a clear understanding of the various offers and are not lured into unsuitable mortgage loans.
The initial concept for Offer Angel came about when co-founder Meghan Burns, a former mortgage professional, recognized that borrowers shopped around to try and find the best mortgage loan but were falling prey to deceptive brokers and loan officers. “It was frustrating to see hardworking people duped into unsuitable mortgages because a loan officer wanted to make a big commission. I knew that I could help people with a one-on-one consulting business but to drive industry change, it would require a solution on much larger scale,” said Burns.
Offer Angel’s initial research showed the predatory lending was occurring nationwide, regardless of the borrower’s age, education, profession, income or geography. The Center for Responsible Lending estimates that "U.S. borrowers lose at least $9.1 billion annually to predatory lending practices." Industry insiders like Ken Logan, executive vice president of NovaStar Capital, acknowledge that borrowers might not understand the terms of their potential loans. "Few borrowers fully understand their residential transaction or the disclosures,” he said. “The mortgage loan is an inherently complex transaction." The Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Ben S. Bernanke stated “One of the challenges of creating effective disclosures is presenting information so that it is as accessible and understandable as possible.”
Many industry experts agree that mortgage lenders are not solely responsible when it comes to predatory lending practices. In finding the solution, Offer Angel knew it had to do more than monitor lending practices. The lack of consumer knowledge, high-pressure sales tactics and inadequate federal disclosures would also need to be resolved in order to present a market solution. “We came to the conclusion that if we built a web site that addressed all of these problems, we could turn the balance in favor of the borrower,” said co-founder Jason Kaufman.
Offer Angel seeks to help protect all borrowers from predatory lending practices. Offer Angel is a free open-access site with a service accessible both to borrowers who already have an existing relationship with a lender and those who need help finding one. For borrowers looking for a reputable lender, a select group of pre-screened lenders are a part of Offer Angel’s “Accredited Lender Program.” The lenders participating in the program agree to be monitored by Offer Angel.
Offer Angel makes complex mortgage terms typically found in federal disclosures easy to understand. In addition to simplifying the terms, an Offer Angel analyst reviews the offers selected by the borrower to create a Personalized Mortgage Report. This report not only alerts the borrower to potentially unsuitable mortgage terms but also helps educate the borrower on why the various mortgage offers may differ from each other. The Offer Angel analyst reviews up to four offers and comments on more than 100 different loan terms making sure they are compatible with the goals of the borrower and in line with market conditions.
Borrowers who get their mortgage offers through Offer Angel are empowered because the influence of the sales pitch is diminished. Through the online mortgage offer and Personalized Mortgage Report, the borrower gets the details he or she needs to make an informed decision without any high-pressure sales tactics.
Offer Angel (http://www.offerangel.com) is available to borrowers and lenders nationwide. The company is currently reviewing applications for the Accredited Lender Program and for the Affiliate program.