Reverse mortgage lenders can no longer target seniors via Google

Facebook rolled out similar anti-bias advertising policy last year

Google is restricting ads based on age. Some mortgage lenders are crying foul. (iStock)
Google is restricting ads based on age. Some mortgage lenders are crying foul. (iStock)

In a blow to reverse-mortgage lenders and perhaps other real estate players, Google is introducing new restrictions for targeted ads next month.

Starting Oct. 19, Google will restrict ads targeting customers on the basis of “gender, age, parental status, marital status, or ZIP code,” the tech giant told advertisers, as reported by Reverse Mortgage Daily. The new policy will have an impact on housing, employment and credit companies.

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Some lenders say the anti-bias policy will hurt reverse-mortgage companies, which use Google ads (and other search and social-media platforms) to target users of a certain age. Reverse mortgages allow homeowners to borrow against a property and are geared toward owners 60 and older, who sometimes find themselves foreclosed upon by lenders.

Cliff Auerswald, president of All Reverse Mortgage in Orange, Calif., called Google’s decision “shortsighted” and said the rule doesn’t take into account some age restrictions that are not discriminatory. “Hiding reverse mortgage ads from prospects in their 20s isn’t age discrimination,” he told Reverse Mortgage Daily. “It is common sense.”

The new policy, based on the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, is a major step to combatting discrimination in online advertising. Facebook rolled out a similar policy last year as part of a fair housing settlement and now prohibits ads from targeting users by ZIP code and has a 15-mile minimum radius for geographic ad targeting. [Reverse Mortgage Daily] — E.B. Solomont