Judge rules class action over reverse mortgage telemarketing will continue

Meadowbrook Financial Mortgage Bankers Corp. attempted to stop the class from being certified

Meadowbrook, a multi-channel lender offering reverse mortgages, has failed to convince a federal judge in Pennsylvania that a proposed class in a class-action suit over telemarketing calls should not be certified, according to Bloomberg Law and court documents related to the case.

“In November 2022, Meadowbrook filed the instant motion challenging the sufficiency of the class allegations and therefore asking the Court to dismiss the complaint,” Chief Judge Matthew W. Brann wrote in his ruling.

The ruling stems from a case that plaintiff Gerard Jackson filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, which alleges that Meadowbrook Financial Mortgage Bankers Corp. violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by repeatedly targeting him for the company’s reverse mortgage services.

Jackson’s phone number was included in the National Do Not Call Registry, a government-maintained database for people who have opted out of being contacted by telemarketers. In the suit, Jackson is seeking to certify a class of other Do Not Call registrants who were contacted by Meadowbrook more than once within a certain time frame.

Meadowbrook is seeking dismissal of the lawsuit on two grounds: that the proposed class is impermissible, and that the facts at hand do not justify the class under federal rules.

“Neither argument justifies the relief Meadowbrook requests,” Chief Judge Brann wrote. “The former is without merit, whereas the latter, while potentially meritorious, is premature.”

Product marketing practices are a consistent source of debate, both outside and in the reverse mortgage industry.

“I tell you, ever since I turned to the eligible age, I get more junk [mail] regarding reverse mortgages [than anything else],” HomeChex President Mark Browning said at a 2022 reverse mortgage industry conference. “It sets a perception instantly. [I feel] that lead generators have cheapened the product tremendously. Customers come in, and their families or financial advisors have [immediate] perceptions.”

According to Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsement data compiled by Reverse Market Insight (RMI), Meadowbrook Financial recorded four endorsements in 2022, and has recorded two so far in 2023, coming out to number 93 on RMI’s ranking of the top 100 lenders year to date.

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