Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
The mailer received by someone in our office last week names Bank of America seven times, creating the impression it was from Bank of America, but it was not. It was from an outfit called Novation Marketing Center or Novation Law Center, but they are not mentioned anywhere.
That’s funny, because the mailer (Download Loan mod scam mailer 5.11) – claiming to be a “payment reduction notice” to help modify a Bank of America mortgage – came from Novation Marketing Center and Novation Law center. The only way you would know it was not from Bank of America is in the small type, where one of those Bank of American mentions is used to note the mailer did not come from Bank of America.
This is, clearly, a loan modification outfit trying to deceive Bank of America customers into seeking a modification. The wording is carefully used to give the impression the mailer is coming from the bank. “Bank Of America realizes that sometimes things happen that are out of your control, which can keep you from meeting your most financial obligations,” the first paragraph reads. “Bank Of America is committed to helping homeowners keep their homes.”
That second part might be true, but Bank of America’s commitment surely does not include the services of Novation.
In the last few months, we have studied the loan modification industry, surveying a dozen companies and referring six of them to the Attorney General’s Office for further investigation after we found they may charge up-front fees, in violation of state regulations. We are also going to refer Novation to the Attorney General, after seeing this deceptive advertising that is unfair and confusing to consumers.
We’re not alone in having concerns regarding this company. Recently, the Attorney General in Connecticut and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency raised the red flag when it comes to Novation.
Thousands of homeowners in Massachusetts are facing foreclosure or are so worried about paying the mortgage that they worry about foreclosure. This kind of advertising preys on those concerns and takes advantage of homeowners.
If you are worried about foreclosure, avoid unsolicited mailers or phone calls, and seek out assistance from a HUD-approved housing counselor. Contact your lender directly and being the dialogue about potential modifications and other options. Seek out help and start working on a solution now, but avoid “help” that comes out of nowhere or seems too good to be true.