HUD Issues New Advertising Requirements, Use of Official Seal Prohibited

A mortgagee letter published April 15 by the Department of Housing and Urban Development specifies new guidelines for use of the agency’s logo, name and acronym in advertising materials for Federal Housing Administration approved mortgagees, including prohibitions for third party originators.

The ML 2011-17 states that FHA-approved mortgagees may display the official FHA Approved Lending Institution logos for describing and illustrating the types of loan products the mortgagee offers, “in a discreet manner.” Use of the FHA Approved Lending Institution logo must be accompanied by a conspicuous disclaimer that clearly informs the public that the mortgagee is not acting on behalf of ar at the direction of HUD/FHA or the Federal government. The disclaimer should be prominently displayed with the FHA Approved Lending Institution logo.

Further, the ML prohibits use of the official FHA logo. “Use of the FHA logo is strictly prohibited. No person, party, company, or firm, including FHA-approved mortgagees, may use the FHA logo,” the letter states.


With regard to the HUD seal, the letter specifies that FHA-approved mortgagees, non FHA-approved mortgagees and third party originators are not permitted to display the official HUD seal or any other insignia that imitates an official Federal seal on any advertising channels.

“FHA-approved mortgagees may not purport or imply that as a result of their approval to participate in FHA programs that their business products or services are coming directly from HUD or FHA,” the letter states. The guidance details use of terms that may not falsely represent that the mortgagee’s business or services originate from HUD, FHA, federal or state governments.

Finally, the letter states that third party originators, including those who were previously approved, may no longer use the FHA Approved Lending Institution logo(s) on any materials. “No previously FHA-approved loan correspondent, nor any third party originator sponsored by an FHA-approved mortgagee, shall engage in any activity or author or distribute any device that falsely advertises, represents or otherwise conveys the impression that the company’s business operations, products or services either originate from or are expressly endorsed by the Department or FHA.”

The changes noted in the letter will become effective 30 days from the April 15 ML publication date.

View Mortgagee Letter 2011-17.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker


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  • It seems every time we look over our shoulder we have another regulatory change or restriction levied on the correspondent or third party originator under this new rule and other bill’s or rules being passed these days!

    I understand what the intent of the regulators think they have in mind, regardless how far in left field they have become. However, the more rules and regulations that come out continue to restrict the activities of many firms. Firms that once used to be FHA approved mortgagees with their full Eagle and even those that had their Mini Eagle’s.

    Many lenders that were once FHA-approved mortgagees are now either correspondents or third party originators. They are no longer considered FHA-approved mortgagees as they once were. This means many of these same shops that were FHA approved lenders in the past that have the experience, the staff in place and more than capable of performing as an FHA approved mortgagee in every aspect, are now prohibited from even using the FHA and HUD logos in trying to market their product.

    I realize this puts the responsibility on the sponsor’s back and this is part of the intent of the whole rule. However, this also is just another blow that will be hard to swallow, especially for those shops that at one time were once a “Full Eagle” shop!

    When will it all stop so we can just go back to work and help our seniors the way we were intended to do?

    John A. Smaldone

    • Unfortunately as you are well aware, Democratic Administrations have a propensity to over-regulate and Republicans to do the opposite. Unfortunately this administration goes overboard in its over-regulating.

      On the other hand it is good that HUD is establishing bright line rules. There is a price to pay for such clarity

      Good to see you commenting again, John.

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