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Kanjorski calls for self-regulation against predatory lenders.

WHATEVER LEGISLATIVE REMEDY CONGRESS sees fit to implement in order to address predatory lending, the mortgage industry will be expected to do much more to police itself, said a key House Democrat.

Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pennsylvania) told attendees of the Mortgage Bankers Association's Regulatory Compliance Conference in Washington, D.C., that self-regulation will be just as important as legislative action in curtailing unscrupulous lending practices.

"If we enact [legislation], are you able and capable enough to make sure you handle abuses that can occur in the industry?" asked Kanjorski.

Kanjorski, with Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), has co-sponsored one of two competing predatory lending bills in the house, H.R. 1295, the Responsible Lending Act, also known as the Ney-Kanjorski bill.

Filed within days of each other in March, Ney-Kanjorski and H.R. 1182, the Prohibit Predatory Lending Act, introduced by North Carolina Democrats Reps. Brad Miller and Melvin Watt, both expand the scope of the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA), the federal law regulating high-cost home loans.

The key difference between the two bills is that under Ney-Kanjorski, the uniform national standard would preempt state and local predatory lending laws, while Miller-Watt-based on North Carolina's landmark predatory lending law--would tighten HOEPA while permitting states and localities to maintain their own abusive-lending restrictions.

MBA has expressed support for Ney-Kanjorski as a "superior bill" because pre-emption would lift the serious compliance burden as lenders grapple with a patchwork of state and local lending requirements.

Kanjorski said a uniform national standard is needed both to protect the industry from the hodgepodge of confusing and conflicting predatory lending regulations at all levels of government as well as to protect consumers in the 26 states that offer little or no legislative protection against subprime lending abuses.

"The piece of legislation that Bob Ney and I support, as I said, is not the best, but it's a good attempt. It's not really the solution to the problem," said Kanjorski. "The solution to the problem is going to come from industries like yours."

In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, Kanjorski noted the storm and its fallout have "changed the legislative dynamic" in Congress this fall. "I think some important pieces of legislation will be pushed back to next year because of the hurricane," he warned.

While he didn't specify which bills he expected would be pushed back. Kanjorski did say the top priorities Congress will have to deal with post-Katrina include the appropriations bills and the renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, which is due to expire at the end of the year.
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Title Annotation:Business Alert
Publication:Mortgage Banking
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2005
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