Quicken Loans fights back against fed investigation

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

Detroit-based Quicken Loans, Inc. has gone on the offensive against the U.S. government, filing a lawsuit seeking to halt an investigation it alleges is attempting to force the mortgage lender to admit to fraud.

Quicken sued the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Housing and Urban Development late Friday, alleging it is a target of an probe in "which the DOJ is 'investigating' and pressuring large, high-profile lenders into publicly 'admitting' wrongdoing," according to the lawsuit.

Quicken says the government threatened to file a lawsuit unless the company paid damages based on a sampling of its loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration and admit its lending practices were "significantly flawed" and publicly declare it had committed wrongdoing.

Spokepersons for the Justice Department and HUD declined to comment. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit says the feds have investigated Quicken for nearly three years, with more than 85,000 documents subpoenaed.

"No threat, including high-profile senseless lawsuits from powerful federal officials, will deter our company and its leadership from doing the right thing, said Bill Emerson, Quicken Loans CEO. "We will stand in defense of our impeccable reputation established by thousands of hard-working ethical team members over our 30-year history."

Quicken said the DOJ inquiry has resulted in the threat of a federal lawsuit based on "faulty analysis of a miniscule number of cherry-picked mortgages" from the nearly 250,000 FHA loans the company has closed since 2007, Quicken said.

Quicken Loans is represented in the suit by Michigan-based Morganroth & Morganroth and Goodwin Procter of Washington, D.C. It is the nation's second largest retail home mortgage lender and largest FHA lender. The company closed $140 billion of mortgage volume across all 50 states in 2013-2014.