Washington State Department of Financial Institutions


This agency is a national leader in fighting predatory lending and we intend to keep the pressure on companies and individuals who victimize consumers and violate their rights.”

- Helen Howell, Director
Department of Financial Institutions
Press release dated 10/02

In October 2002, Washington joined in a nationwide settlement with Household International, one of the country's top lenders in the subprime mortgage market.

DFI became concerned with the lending practices of Household and Beneficial in late 1999. The investigation began in earnest in 2000, including interviewing consumers, research into federal law, an examination of Household and Beneficial records, several meetings with the senior management of the company, and a supplemental examination that included secretly shopping several branch offices to document predatory practices.

The conclusions of DFI’s investigation were documented in a supplemental examination report that was issued in April of 2002. After the issuance of the report, DFI helped initiate the nationwide effort leading to this settlement.

This landmark settlement provides the largest direct consumer restitution ever in a state or federal case. Consumers nationwide will receive up to $484 million in restitution, including about $21 million for more than 12,000 victims in Washington State.

Just as important as the money that will go back into victims’ pockets are the more than 20 additional areas of relief the states negotiated for consumers. This relief - referred to as injunctive relief - will establish new standards of conduct for Household International and its subsidiaries going forward.

Consumers with questions about the settlement should contact the Household settlement administrator toll free at 1-888-780-2156, or visit the administrators website at www.household-beneficial-settlement.com