In a new mortgagee letter, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued additional guidance regarding the use of the HUD or Federal Housing Administration (FHA) logos, name or acronyms in advertising. Mortgagee Letter 2011-17 states that the clarification is intended "to ensure that consumers, current homeowners, and potential homebuyers are properly informed of the authorship of advertisements that promote FHA products and are not misled to believe that the service or product being advertised is HUD
or FHA-approved or endorsed."
According to the letter, FHA-approved mortgagees are allowed to display one of two official "FHA Approved Lending Institution" logos for the purpose of illustrating the types of loan products offered in a marketing device. The HUD seal or FHA logo (or any seal that imitates an official government seal) may not be used in any marketing device.
Approved FHA-approved Mortgagee Logos
In using these logos, however, mortgagees are cautioned that each instance of use must include a conspicuous disclaimer, located in proximity to the logo, that the mortgagee is not acting on behalf of or at the direction of HUD/FHA or the federal government. The appropriate name and contact information of the entity issuing the device must also be clearly presented.
Mortgagees are strictly prohibited from altering or using the logos in such a matter that conveys a false impression that the marketing device is authored, approved or endorsement by HUD, FHA or other government department. Additionally, previously FHA-approved correspondents and third party originators that are not directly FHA-approved mortgagees are prohibited from using the logos in marketing devices.
The mortgagee letter also warns about the use of HUD/FHA names, acronyms and other references to the government or government agencies. Use of such terms must not give the false impression that the services or products in any way originated from a government agency.
Mortgagees are required to retain copies of all marketing devices for a period of two years. Non-compliance with the rule can lead to sanctions by HUD/FHA including civil money penalties or administrative action.
The rule is effective as of May 15, 2011.