Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

Friday, March 12, 2010


Lyn Peters, Director of Communications
PH (360) 902-8731, Cell 360.349.8501, lyn.peters@dfi.wa.gov

Deborah Bortner, Director of Consumer Services
PH 360.902.8703, deb.bortner@dfi.wa.gov


Governor Gregoire Signs Two DFI-Requested Bills Designed To Protect Consumers, Ensure Sound Business Practices

Loan Servicing/Modification and Escrow bills become consumer protection laws today

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions is pleased to announce the signing of two requested bills offering stronger protection for consumers and establishing guidelines for more sound business practices: HB 2608 regarding Loan Servicers and Loan Modifications and ESHB 2564 regarding Escrow Agents.

"We proposed the loan servicer bill because we received so many complaints from Washington homeowners who lost their dreams — their homes — to questionable third party loan servicing practices," Deborah Bortner, DFI Director of Consumer Services said. "Throughout the foreclosure crisis, homeowners desperately hoping to avoid losing their home have fallen victim to companies offering to help - for a substantial fee. In many cases, the homeowner pays several thousand dollars, receives no loan modification and loses their home to foreclosure anyway."

Loan Servicing/Modification (HB 2608)

“The escrow bill was proposed because there have been instances of escrow companies whose owners absconded with consumers’ funds and there was no bonding to cover the loss,” Bortner explained.

Escrow Agents (ESHB 2564)

“We are pleased to offer these additional protections for Washington residents,” DFI Director Scott Jarvis said of the bills. “These bills are an example of how the dedicated staff at DFI is working to fulfill this agency’s mission to regulate financial services to protect and educate the public and promote economic vitality."

About DFI
www.dfi.wa.gov ▪ 360.902.8700 ▪ 877.RINGDFI (746.4334)
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions regulates a variety of financial service providers such as banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers, consumer loan companies, payday lenders and securities brokers and dealers. The department also works to improve financial education throughout Washington through its outreach programs and online clearinghouse www.dfi.wa.gov/financial-education. In addition to posting information about licensees and administrative actions, DFI uses the Web and social media to provide financial education information:

About Consumer Services
www.dfi.wa.gov/cs ▪ 360.902.8703 ▪877.RINGDFI (746.4334)
The mission of the Division of Consumer Services is to protect consumers from illegal and fraudulent lending practices. The division accomplishes its mission through licensing, licensee examinations, investigations, and enforcing selected state and federal statutes and rules. Consumer Services regulates the business activities of consumer loan companies, mortgage brokers, money transmitters and currency exchangers, as well as check cashers and sellers, also known as "payday lenders." The Division is entirely self-supporting, with funding provided by licensing, auditing, and policing of regulated businesses and individuals. No money is received from the state General Fund or other public revenue source.