|Nebraska officials charged two mortgage companies with violating the states revised licensing laws — leaving one out of business.
The state’s Department of Banking and Finance announced Thursday it ordered Probity National Mortgage Corp. to pay a fine of $227,500 in addition to investigation and hearing costs. Michael E. Peterson, Probity’s chief executive and president, received a separate fine of $113,750.
The West Des Moines, Iowa-based mortgage banker continued to operate in Nebraska under multiple names using just one license even though the state now restricts each license applicant to one corporate name and one trade name, the department reported.
Thereafter, “it failed to maintain a surety bond, required by law for the protection of consumers, so we canceled its license,” said Mike Cameron, department legal counsel, in the announcement.
The department indicated a portion of the fines were a consequence of unlicensed branch activity, but said the bulk of the fines against Probity and its chief resulted from failure to cease and desist offering loans to Nebraskans through the company’s Web site as ordered by the department in July 2005.
Each day after May 27 that Probity continued to offer mortgages on its site is a separate violation of state law, the department indicated.
Probity could thus receive more fines. As of Thursday afternoon, its Web site continued to say that it offered loans in Nebraska. Thirteen other states were listed.
The department said no one representing Probity appeared at a Sept. 22 hearing to respond why the company should not be fined for disregarding an order to cease conducting mortgage banking activity in Nebraska and for offering loans from unlicensed branches and their Web sites.
Two phone numbers on Probity’s Web site were disconnected and a number listed for Probity’s 1501 42nd Street base office in West Des Moines lead to a voice-message box that was full.
Nebraska regulators also have ordered Omaha-based mortgage broker Performance Lending Group to stop doing business because of state license violations, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. Performance had reportedly been operating as a branch of Mortgage Express but didn’t get a mortgage banking license in its own name after changes to state licensing requirements in 2004.
Performance manager Rick Heckendorn, who attributed the violations to clerical errors, said he is in the process of trying to appeal the banking department decisions, the paper reported.
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