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News Release

New Jersey Department of
Banking and Insurance


Commissioner Steven M. Goldman

For Immediate Release:
August 2, 2007

For Further Information:
Jim Gardner (609) 292-5064


DOBI cites Apex Financial for multiple violations

Cease and desist order calls for $700,000 in fines, revocation of license

 

TRENTON – Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Steven M. Goldman has taken action to revoke the license of mortgage lender Apex Financial Group, Inc. after examiners discovered nearly 600 violations of New Jersey mortgage lending law, including the utilization of unlicensed mortgage solicitors, unlicensed offices, and charging prohibited fees.

The DOBI order requires Apex Financial to immediately cease all prohibited transactions, pay a monetary penalty of $700,000, and refund all inappropriate fees. In addition, the company is asked to present evidence as to why the company’s New Jersey mortgage lender license should not be revoked.

The company, based in Brandon, Fla., lists Cherry Hill and Riverton as its New Jersey addresses.

The order alleges 12 specific violations of the New Jersey Licensed Lenders Act, including:

  • Utilizing the services of 232 unregistered mortgage solicitors;
  • Operating seven branch offices through separate business entities in Cherry Hill, Clifton, Fairfield, Magnolia, North Arlington, Passaic, and Union City;
  • Violation of restrictions on branch office arrangements by allowing those seven offices to pay operating expenses out of their own account;
  • Allowing the seven offices to maintain a separate bank account;
  • Having direct contact with New Jersey consumers through nine unlicensed branch offices in Newark; Minneola, Fla.; Lauderhill, Fla.; Lakewood; Watchung; Pompano Beach, Fla.; New York; New Kensington, Penn.; and Succasunna;
  • Five instances of paying commissions, bonuses or fees to individuals not licensed in New Jersey;
  • At least three instances of collecting prohibited “processing fees” ranging from $595 to $1,200;
  • Issuance of at least 316 second mortgages without secondary mortgage lending authority;
  • Allowing the closing of a mortgage loan by a company not licensed in the state;
  • Failure to increase the company’s surety bond by $250,000 to the required level based on the company’s reported loan volume;
  • Storage of records relating to New Jersey transactions at an out-of-state location;
  • Failure to notify DOBI of the termination of licensed employee.

Apex Financial has 20 days to request an administrative hearing objecting to the order. If no hearing is requested, the order will then become final.

Goldman advises consumers who are considering a mortgage loan involving Apex Financial to ask if the branch office involved is licensed with DOBI and to ask if anyone acting as a mortgage solicitor, loan officer, or loan originator for this company is registered with the department. Consumers are also advised to demand an explanation of all fees charged in connection with their mortgage loan.

For additional information or to determine if a mortgage provider is properly licensed, consumers are urged to visit the DOBI Web site at www.njdobi.org. Individuals with questions regarding a recent transaction with Apex Financial may call the DOBI Consumer Hotline at (609) 292-7272.

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