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Agencies send letters on deceptive mortgage ads

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Federal Trade Commission said Monday that it sent letters to 20 mortgage advertisers, warning them that their advertisements may be deceptive.

The letters were sent in coordination with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which issued letters to about a dozen other companies that included mortgage brokers and lenders.

The FTC said that its letters were sent to real estate agents, home builders, and lead generators. In the letter, the agency told the advertisers to review their ads for compliance with the Mortgage Acts and Practices Advertising Rule and the FTC Act.

THE FTC and CFPB reviewed about 800 mortgage ads and were concerned about adds that offered a very low "fixed" mortgage rate, without discussing significant loan terms; ads that contained statements, images, symbols and abbreviations suggesting that an advertiser is affiliated with a government agency and ads "guaranteeing" approval and offering very low monthly payments, without discussing significant conditions on these offers.

The FTC and CFPB have opened investigations into other advertisers that may have violated federal law.