Freedom Mortgage Corp., based in Mount Laurel, agreed to pay $1.75 million to settle accusations that it intentionally reported inaccurate information about the race, sex, and ethnicity of loan applicants, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Wednesday.
The bureau found that Freedom Mortgage loan officers were instructed to enter information that consumers had failed to provide on applications. For example, when applicants did not provide a race and ethnicity, loan officers were told to select “non-Hispanic white,” regardless if that was accurate, the bureau said. Managers told loan officers to do this because a computer program that the lender used would not advance or save a file if information was missing, the bureau said.
Freedom Mortgage violated the federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HDMA) by submitting inaccurate data, the bureau said.
In a statement, the lender said “while the issue raised by the CFPB has resulted in no harm to our customers, Freedom Mortgages takes reporting consumer information very seriously and is fully cooperating with the CFPB on this matter."
The settlement requires Freedom Mortgage to pay a civil fine of $1.75 million and take steps to improve its compliance to prevent future violations.
The lender reported data on more than a million loan applications from 2014 through 2017, making it one of the nation’s 10 largest reporters of data required under the HDMA. From 2013 through 2016, Freedom Mortgage made more than 50,000 home-purchase loans, including refinancings of home-purchase loans, the bureau said.