Ameriquest: Socially Responsible or Reprehensible?
Ameriquest, a private sub-prime mortgage lender, considers itself “the proud sponsor of the American Dream”, but many consumers and former employees of Ameriquest feel otherwise, as they tell nightmarish stories of deception. The company is one of the nation’s leading private sub-prime lenders. Originally known as a bank named Long Beach Savings and Loan, Ameriquest has undergone significant change since its 1979 inception. The company moved its corporate office to Orange County in 1991, where it became a pure mortgage lender and changed their name to Long Beach Mortgage Company in 1994. In 1997 the company split in two, and the retail portion of the business became what is now known as Ameriquest. (Wikipedia) Ameriquest has had its share of ups and downs throughout its transformation, including some major lawsuits, forcing the company to change their lending guidelines, and exposing some potentially dangerous practices of the company. Most recently Ameriquest has been in the media for the company’s restructuring of their workforce, which has resulted in a series of layoffs totaling nearly 9,000 workers. (Job Cuts Totaling 3,000 at ACC? ) Ameriquest has had many customer complaints for allegedly deceiving customers, and conducting predatory lending practices. These allegations led to a $325 million settlement agreed to by Ameriquest, as well as a new set of “best practices” the company was forced to implement. The Washington Post reported, “State prosecutors and lending regulators in 49 states and the District [of Columbia] have reached a wide ranging $325 million settlement with Ameriquest Mortgage Company, the nation’s largest lender to home loan borrowers with poor credit to resolve allegations that the company defrauded and mislead consumers. It is the second largest consumer protection settlement in U.S. history, following the $484 million predatory lending agreement reached in 2002 with Household...
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