Mortgage Company Merit Financial Banned from the Industry for Five Years. Scott Greenlaw: Not Banned.

Wholesale Mortgage Company Merit Financial has the dubious reputation as being the very first company on the ML-Implode list which now sits at 312 imploded lenders.

The original Statement of Charges from 2007 focuses on violations of the state’s Mortgage Broker Practices Act such as failing to pay appraisers over and over and over again, failing to maintain a mortgage broker license, failing to attend the required continuing ed classes, failing to maintain an surety bond, failing to adequately disclose fees to consumers, and so forth.

From the Seattle Times

Merit did put loan officers through a 19-step program. “Loan Officer 101” was 15 minutes long…Saulness wasn’t impressed. She sat next to two 18-year-old loan officers. “They didn’t even know how to read a credit report,” she said.  Barry said wryly that many “had no idea what product they were selling, but they knew how much money they could make.” Merit employees proudly posted their résumés, plus photos of their luxury cars and drinking parties, on various Web sites. One loan officer had come to work fresh from being a Hooters Girl. Another solicited clients for two endeavors: writing mortgages for Merit and selling marijuana paraphernalia on the side. Indeed, several Merit loan officers boasted online that doing drugs was a favorite pastime. “Let’s get hopped up and make some bad decisions,” wrote one beside a photo of himself grinning broadly. Numerous former employees, including loan officer Sunny Hoppe, described working at Merit as a raucous — sometimes lewd — frat party. It was “young, hip, drugs and drinking,” Hoppe said, and that was at work. Former employees also said Merit regularly provided a keg of beer for some staff meetings, but Greenlaw said that, no, it was actually two kegs, and employees were free to bring in six-packs on Fridays. Asked about rumors of drug use in the office, Greenlaw said, “We just never checked.”

Washington State DFI and Merit/Greenlaw decided to settle the case and move on.  The Consent Order filed Dec 2008 says our state DFI will collect only $1500 in fines. Merit is banned from the industry for five years. Greenlaw is banned from applying for a mortgage broker/designated broker license for five years yet he is not prohibited from applying to become a loan originator.  Let’s take a look at some of the financial carnage from 2006-07:

Thousands of dollars owed to appraisers for work performed.
Thousands of dollars owed in back wages to Merit employees
Unpaid business and occupation taxes owed to the state of $351,294.
Wells Fargo was owed $244,033.
Firstam  Credco was owed $228,249.

I wonder how he’s been paying for beer and pizza these days. Let’s find out.

23 thoughts on “Mortgage Company Merit Financial Banned from the Industry for Five Years. Scott Greenlaw: Not Banned.

  1. It’s odd that his name is nowhere on his new site/business. If I were a consumer, if I could not easily tell who the humans are behind the website (so I can google and research them)…I’d see that as a potential red flag.

  2. I stumbled across your articles and was shocked to find the ease and total disregard for ethics this Scott Greenlaw was able to prey on both the lurative mortage market and the availability of greedy young “senior loan officers” of Merit Financial. I nearly fell for the scam, but the fact that I was neither foolish nor desperate, kept me from dealing with Merit Financial. My first clue was the fact that I actually knew more about mortage finance than the “senior loan officer” (they were all titled “senior loan officers”).
    I am outraged that someone can commit this tye of crime and walk away from it! NOW I KNOW HOW OUR NATION GOT INTO THIS FINANCIAL MESS!


  3. Actually, I almost did a deal with Scott was just the talker, I don’t think he is a part of that company anymore. Shane Eberle is the owner. I don’t think they even got that up and running. Shane was writing contracts acting as an agent, which was my first sign not to deal with them. He is not licensed. Scott is doing loans again. BTW BAD IDEA.

  4. What a small world. I just met with a guy who worked for Scott at Merit as a “senior Loan rep” He said he had no experience at all before being labeled that. He said he would get his hud statements sent back if there was not enough money charged to borrowers. They did not have to disclose rebate because Countrywide (surprise surprise) was there in house lender, and that there was some sort of loophole. He said he quit because he could not sleep at night knowing what they were doing to people. Anyway, he said he did not have to pay back that money it was part of his $5mill dollar bankruptcy.

  5. Scott Greenlaw now works for Bank of America and he is doing loans and building a team, the office location is Tukwila….borrowers beware! BTW how in the heck did BOA hire him?

  6. Hey, I found it! Here’s the link:

    From the site:

    “Welcome to Bank of America Home Loans, my name is Scott Greenlaw. As a Mortgage Loan Officer, I have a wide range of mortgage choices, competitive rates and flexible terms and conditions, as well as online tools, so you can find the mortgage solution that best fits your needs. You can Pre-Qualify online in minutes.

    During my 11 years of experience in the mortgage industry, I have shared my expertise to personally assist thousands of families with responsible and affordable home financing. I have an extensive background assisting first time homebuyers, high net worth borrowers, low-to-moderate income borrowers and self-employed borrowers and a great deal of experience in:
    Affordable mortgage lending
    Construction lending
    Conventional loans
    Government lending
    I have a degree in Political Science from University of Washington.

    I contribute my time to the community by supporting: Special Olympics and Housing Agencies.

    Contact me today and let’s get started on achieving your home financing goals.”

    Hmmm. Nothing in there about subprime loans.

  7. Subprime mortgage lender Merit Financial Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2006. Apparently it’s back in business (or maybe it never left).
    There’s a company called Merit Financial which advertises on Beck. Touts itself as a seller of gold coins and gold bullion for “investment”. Related?

  8. Hi Sal,

    I’m no private detective, but from what I can tell, the Merit Financial ppl chose this name for their new company not knowing the sad reputation that Merit name has here in the greater Seattle area. The new firm looks like they’re based in New Jersey and I can’t tell whether or not any of the old Merit ppl are at this new firm.

  9. Every person makes mistakes in life, some worse than others. The Scott Greenlaw I knew at Merit was not the professional one would expect running a company of 400 employees. He allowed too many of his executive team to run the show, while he was taking it easy. He basically lost control of his life. He used to play football for UW, and was a really good kid, but conduit raised in a modest environment, then hitting the jackpot of success blinded him. Merit collapsed because Scotts executive team, the same guys Scott entrusted control of the company too, decided their brand new luxury cars, or houses in Kirkland were just not enough (Brady,Tony), and wanted more, so they stole the beat loan officers, and left the company.Scott knew there was no way to come back from such a huge blow,especially when the market started diving, so he had no choice, but to close Merit. Also, when Scott started his company, they were exclusively originating VA loans, which had many restrictions, including much more restrict fees. Scotts original path to success,VA loans, did not have any of the issues, which plagued the company later. He made mistakes,and like every single person out there, he did his best to rectify his mistakes, but there is only so much a person can do. He is now a father of a new baby, and just trying to do his best. He knows what he did was wrong, and the only thing he can do is make sure it never happens again. His mistakes made him lose everything. He is now a simple middle class man, trying to make a living to support his family, and constantly goes to church, and seeked help both emotionally and spiritually. He is not the same Scott anymore. As someone noted, he worked for bofa, which is pretty obvious, he is not sitting on mountains of gold, and just trying to survive like the rest of us.

  10. Apparently also associated with Settlementprep doing short settlements, very expensive refi’s (I was quoted refi’s charging 3-4% loan origination fees for expense loans that I was overqualified for.) Treading lightly


      He’s listed here. I’m researching this company because of a solicitation that a friend received in the mail. is the website for the company. My first guess is that the majority of the “leads” that call them won’t qualify for any sort of refinance and they’ll be funneled into short sales with Realtors. Kind of a lead capture sort of company. Not a bad thing I guess, but being in the industry myself, I know first hand how very few make it through a successful refi of upside-down mortgages. Pay and stay, or sell short if you can. Start over again in two years at a sales price that’s more “normal”. My humble opinion. Thanks for posting what you know so we can make educated choices. Love the internet!

  11. Actually, Settlementprep did steer me in the right direction to get a refi of my 2nd mortgage, though ultimately the mortgage company said that they would rather deal directly with me. Ultimately it worked out that way, because Settlementprep dropped the ball and the mortgage company’s closing deadlines were about to pass.

  12. Hmmm, this is interesting. I was contacted by Settlement Prep in California about refinancing my upside-down commercial loan. What I read here definitely makes me leery, although Steve C.’s comments may very well be valid. I do think that people can make mistakes and then straighten up and fly right, and I assume that if a person has worked in any field they are more likely to return to that field than to something completely different. I’d appreciate any comments people may have regarding their experiences with Settlement Prep.


  13. I am one of the individuals referenced by the “Saulness” individual in the article, she was a team member at the time and I was indeed 18 and knew nothing of the business when I started. The blatant lies that people told at Merit and lack of ANY knowledge about the business was startling. To top it all off, we (including myself) were abusing drugs and alcohol in a manner which you would not even realize was possible for the work place. The real sad story is the people that didnt get paid when they folded because Greenlaw kept the cash to try and save his own ass. I could not think of a more cowardly individual, and I often hope that I get lucky enough to run across him in a public place.

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