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Washington
Predatory mortgage hearing set for next week
WASHINGTON (4/17/09)—There will be a hearing April 23 on H.R. 1728, the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 200, according to an announcement Thursday by the House Financial Services Committee. The bill was introduced in March by Reps. Brad Miller and Mel Watt, both Democrats from North Carolina, and is intended to curb predatory lending practices. Specifically, according to the co-sponsors at the time of its introduction, the new measure would strengthen restrictions on compensation paid to mortgage loan originators and brokers that is based on a loan's interest rate and terms—known as yield-spread premiums. It also includes stronger language on "assignee liability," intended to make mortgage securitizers, who package home loans into securities, more liable for fraudulent loans. A key element of the legislation would ban lenders from underwriting loans that consumers do not have a reasonable ability to repay and prohibit practices that increase the risk of foreclosure for consumers. The bill also encourages the mortgage market to make it the norm to write 30-year, fixed-rate, fully documented loans, and move away from growth of "exotic" mortgages, which were a major factor in the current housing and foreclosure crisis. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) strongly supports congressional action to protect consumers from abusive and deceptive lending practices. Yet, CUNA has advised federal lawmakers that credit unions' long history of favorable lending practices, and the range of regulation under which the movement operates, makes some provisions of such legislation more appropriate for the mortgage brokerage industry.


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