Ameriquest Strives For 'Best Practices'

Ameriquest Mortgage Co. is embarking upon a "best practice" initiative for both loan servicing and loan origination.

Ameriquest's initiative to set voluntary standards for ethical lending practices support the company's goal to make credit accessible to underserved markets, help customers gain a fresh financial start and make homeownership a reality, the company said.

Ameriquest's updated best practices include no mandatory arbitration, no flipping, no single-premium credit insurance products, one-week cancellation policy and underwriting that is based on the borrower's ability to repay the loan.

Other best practices focused specifically on servicing include processing payments the day they are received; no fees for routine transactions and services such as obtaining loan documents, generating payment history and participating in an automatic recurring payment plan; adopting retention strategies to work with delinquent borrowers to try to keep them in their homes; free consumer credit

counseling from independent counseling agencies; free escrow accounts to help borrowers spread tax and insurance payments over 12 months; and strict quality control for associates in customer-relationship positions.

Adam Bass, senior executive vice president of Ameriquest, said he believes the company's best practices can serve as a model for the industry.

"As one of the nation's oldest and largest home-equity lenders, we are proud of our history of making credit accessible to all markets," he said.

Ameriquest published its original best practices in 2000 as a result of extensive discussions with community and civil rights groups.

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