Federal Judge William B. Jones has awarded $22,350 to 43 home buyers in a class action brought against a D.C. savings and loan association for failure disclose loan terms to borrowers far enough in advance.
The case, decided last month in U.S. District Court, dates back to 1973. Elliot Postow of Rockville and [WORD ILLEGIBLE] brought suit against the Oriental Building Association, now known as OBA Federal Savings and [WORD ILLEGIBLE] Association, 600 F St., NW, on the grounds that furnished clients with information on loan transactions only an hour or two before settlement.
Under the 1968 Truth in Lending Act, the lender is required to make a timely disclosure of rates and [WORD ILLEGIBLE] so that, theoretically, the customer has time to [WORD ILLEGIBLE] around. An appeals court has since held that [WORD ILLEGIBLE] disclosure means when the loan commitment is made.
Oriential also charged Postow a 1 per cent stand-by fee for the loan commitment, not to be refunded if the transaction was unconsummated. This act, according to Postow's attorney, Benny L. Kass, was another discouragement to shopping around and therefore counter to the intent of the Truth in Lending Act.
The judge decided to award only one half the permissible damages - which could have totalled 1 per cent of the S&L's assets - because he found that none of the class members, even though denied timely disclosure, had been victims of deception by Oriental.
Thomas S. Jackson, who represented the S&L, said Oriental intends to appeal the decision. He contended that it was not the intent of Congress to penalize a lender for innocently failing to disclosure information on time when the borrower is not harmed. He said Oriental also intends to fight having to pay legal fees for the plaintiffs, a amount that nearly equals the assessed damages.