Predatory lending settlements are now available to Ameriquest customers, and the final settlements still pale when compared to HSBC’s Household International. In fact some regulators said the Household International settlement should have been much more than $484 million, but they were afraid a realistic amount would put the company out of business.
The Ameriquest settlement grows out of a 2006 suit in which Ameriquest agreed to pay $325 million to settle allegations by 49 states that from 1999 to 2005 it engaged in unlawful mortgage lending practices. These included misrepresented loan terms, hidden or excessive fees, inflated appraisals and fabricated borrower income statements.
It was the second-largest settlement of a predatory lending case, after a 2002 pact in which Household International agreed to pay $484 million. Household International’s then-CEO William F. Aldinger sold the company to HSBC, which then took a beating from it. President George W. Bush made Ameriquest’s CEO the U.S. Ambassador to The Netherlands. Consumers say both settlements failed to adequately compensate customers of either predator.