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Bank not liable for fraud when it loaned money it knew the borrower could not repay

March 20th, 2011 by Joseph William Singer

In Perlas v. GMAC Mortgage, 113 Cal. Rptr. 3d 790 (Ct. App. 2010), a bank made $417,000 worth of loans to borrowers with a gross income of only $50,000. Although that income was inadequate to make the mortgage payments, and the bank found that the borrower “qualified” for the loan, the court held that the bank did not engage in fraud. Qualification, the judge noted, does not imply affordability and the bank had no duty to the borrower to disclose the fact that the borrowers could not afford to make the loan payments. Contract this case with Commonwealth v. Fremont, 897 N.E.2d 548 (Mass. 2008) which held that granting such a loan might constitute an “unfair” practice in violation of the state consumer protection statute.

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