Washington DFI's Predatory Lending Campaign Generates Public Interest
OLYMPIA, Wash. - A summer campaign launched by the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions to raise consumer awareness of predatory lending by releasing television, radio and print public service announcements, apparently is doing what it set out to do. Since the start of the campaign, DFI has received an average of 57 inquiries a day from consumers who want to know more about predatory lending. The statewide campaign encourages consumers to borrow wisely by not signing documents they don't understand, being suspicious of high fees or penalties, and taking their time and not be pressured into quickly finalizing a home loan. DFI is also producing an interactive, educational CD on the issues. The campaign and the study conducted to measure the financial literacy of Washington consumers were financed with cost recovery dollars awarded to DFI for its investigation of Household Finance. That resulted in the largest predatory lending settlement ever in the U.S. DFI Director Helen Howell said educating consumers before they enter into financial transactions is key to preventing financial fraud.