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LANSING, Mich. – The 2002 year-end review of mortgage assistance efforts by the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Services showed the agency handled 964 mortgage lending complaints from consumers last year, realizing a recovery of more than $1.4 million on their behalf. That figure, said Commissioner Frank Fitzgerald, doesn’t include the OFIS’ efforts in the Household Finance Corp. settlement, which is expected to yield more than $15 million in restitution in March 2003. OFIS also initiated over 60 mortgage examinations and reviews for the year on behalf of consumers. More than a third of the examinations were in response to consumer allegations of fraudulent conduct by a mortgage company. Other examinations were conducted because of financial concerns, unlicensed activities, and advertising conflicts. OFIS’ $15 million settlement in the HFC case was the result of OFIS’ examination of HFC which found the company violated the state’s consumer finance laws regarding mortgage loans. OFIS was part of a multi-state investigation and was part of the core negotiating team for the states involved. Under the settlement, approximately 10,000 Michigan consumers will share $15 million in total restitution. As part of that settlement, HFC also agreed to change its real estate secured lending practices.

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