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Miller, Watt & Frank Promote Predatory Lending Bill

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reps. Brad Miller, Melvin L. Watt and Barney Frank will hold a press conference Tuesday on their anti-predatory mortgage-lending bill.

The Prohibit Predatory Lending Act (HR 1182) strengthens protections against predatory lenders, who are booming as the market for sub-prime mortgages explodes.

Predatory lenders cost American homeowners and homebuyers in the sub-prime market, where people with less-than-perfect credit records borrow, more than $9 billion a year.

These borrowers who get cheated out of the hard-won equity in their homes are often minorities, rural borrowers and the elderly. One in five sub-prime loans ends in foreclosure, 10 times the rate for prime mortgages.

The Miller-Watt-Frank bill is modeled on a North Carolina law that has ended many abuses, such as prepayment penalties that trap borrowers in expensive loans – without curtailing people's ability to borrow affordable loans.

Reps. Miller and Watt, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, represent North Carolina. Rep. Frank, ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, represents Massachusetts.

The legislature enacted that bill with overwhelming bipartisan support and the endorsement of the N.C. Mortgage Bankers Assn. and the N.C. Realtors Assn.

Also speaking Tuesday are Hilary Shelton, director of NAACP's Washington Bureau; Nefertari McKoy, a borrower from Columbus County, North Carolina; and Martin Eakes, CEO of the Center for Community Self-Help in Durham, N.C., one of the biggest community development lenders in the nation and parent of the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy and research group that fights predatory lending.

Civil rights groups, consumer groups, community development organizations and fair housing groups will also be available to answer questions.

The press conference is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 19 at Room 2237 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Contact: Michael Flagg at 202-349-1862 or mike.flagg@responsiblelending.org