Mortgage Concepts is a recurring video series covering best practices and compliance education for California mortgage loan originators. This video discusses communication types and disclosures under the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) rule. For course credit toward renewing your NMLS license, visit

MARS rule communication types and disclosures

The Mortgage Assistance Relief Services rule, or MARS rule, protects consumers by prohibiting deceptive practices by mortgage assistance relief service providers. The rule distinguishes between different types of communications, and mandates how disclosures are delivered for each.

Any communication in printed or written form is considered textual communication. Examples include letters, documents and web pages. To meet the qualifications of a “clear and prominent” disclosure for a textual communication, the disclosures must:

  • be easily readable;
  • appear in high contrast against the text’s background;
  • be offered in the same languages that are extensively used in the communication;
  • be distinct from other text, such as inside a border;
  • be in a distinct type style, such as bold;
  • be parallel to the base of the commercial communication; and
  • be at least the larger of 12-point type or one-half the size of the largest letter or number in the advertisement’s contact information, namely the website or phone number provided. [12 CFR §1015.2(1)]

The MARS rule sets disclosure requirements for oral and audible communications as well, which includes radio and streaming audio. These communications must deliver disclosures in a slow, deliberate manner and reasonably understandable volume and pitch. If the commercial communication is program-length, it must contain disclosures at the beginning, middle and end. [12 CFR §1015.2(2)]

Video communication includes mediums like television and streaming video. Compliant communications will audibly state and display disclosures simultaneously. The audible form of the disclosure must also be delivered in a slow, deliberate manner in a reasonably understandable volume and pitch. Visual disclosures must:

  • be at least four percent of the vertical picture or screen height;
  • remain on display for the entire duration of the audio disclosure;
  • meet all requirements for textual communication; and
  • if program-length, contain disclosures at the beginning, middle and end. [12 CFR §1015.2(3)]

Interactive media communication includes mediums like the internet, online services and software. Compliant interactive media communication disclosures will:

  • meet the requirements for textual, oral and audible, and video communication, if applicable;
  • be stated on the page consumers may take action to incur fiscal obligation, or the page immediately prior;
  • be obviously displayed to consumers without scrolling;
  • appear in type at least the same size as the largest character of the advertisement; and
  • if program-length, contain disclosures at the beginning, middle and end. [12 CFR §1015.2(4)]

In every case, the required disclosures need to be understandable in their language and syntax, without contradicting, being inconsistent with, or mitigating the disclosures.