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Oxley: no predatory lending bill this year.

Don't hold your breath waiting for a uniform national standard to curb predatory lending practices to be enacted--at least not this year, according to Rep. Michael Oxley (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Speaking to attendees of the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA's) National Policy Conference, Oxley said there is support for a uniform national standard among lawmakers, but the issue's complexity makes advancing legislation an uphill battle.

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"This is not an easy task, or it would have been done some time ago," said Oxley. "It is an issue that, in my estimation, has to be dealt with at the national level because we have some really bad cases in my home state, where municipalities have tried to legislate in this area and it has driven out lenders altogether."

Currently there are two federal anti-predatory-lending bills under consideration in the House--H.R. 1295, the Responsible Lending Act, introduced by Reps. Robert Ney (R-Ohio) and Paul Kanjorski (D-Pennsylvania), and H.R. 1182, the Prohibit Predatory Lending Act, introduced by North Carolina Democrats Reps. Brad Miller and Melvin Watt.

Filed within days of each other in March 2005, Ney-Kanjorski (H.R. 1295) and H.R. 1182 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 bills is that under Ney-Kanjorski, the uniform national standard would pre-empt 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 anti-abusive-lending restrictions.

MBA considers Ney-Kanjorski to be a "superior bill" because pre-emption would lift the serious compliance burden as lenders grapple with a patchwork of state and local lending requirements (see Mortgage Banking, July 2005, p. 10).

Oxley, who is not running for re-election, said he will spend the remainder of his 13th and final term using his committee chairmanship to advance a uniform national predatory lending standard, but said it's "not likely" a bill will pass this year.

"We're going to push that noodle up the hill as far as we can, but it's a tough slog," said Oxley. "There's a lot of misinformation out there and a lot of tough things to deal with, but we'll do the best we can. But are we going to get a bill to the president's desk [this year]? I don't think so."
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Title Annotation:Michael Oxley; lending practices bill under scrutiny
Publication:Mortgage Banking
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2006
Words:400
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