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Joint Statement by Consumer, Civil Rights, and Advocacy Groups re: H.R. 3915

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

We commend Chairman Frank and Representatives Watt and Miller for taking the lead in addressing the underlying problems that have led to the escalating foreclosure crisis in this country. Banning prepayment penalties in the subprime mortgage market, requiring lenders to assess each borrower's ability to repay, and eliminating the bonuses lenders now pay to brokers to put people in more expensive loans than those for which they qualify would go a long way to protecting families from the deceptive and abusive loans that ultimately lead to a decline in home ownership.

We are glad the legislation would set minimum federal lending standards while preserving the rights of states to take additional steps to protect their citizens from what are now widespread abusive lending practices. However, we worry the bill lacks sufficient legal recourse for consumers who are taken advantage of by unscrupulous or reckless lenders, brokers, and investors. The limited remedies in the bill do not give Wall Street investors who buy mortgages and package them as securities adequate incentives to police themselves. Wall Street contributed to the problem, with its appetite for riskier loans, so it must have its fair share of accountability. Further, families need to be able to protect themselves from illegal lending practices regardless of who owns their home loan at a given time.

We look forward to working with Members throughout the legislative process to create much needed safeguards that will lead to sustainable homeownership and an economy that works for all.

AARP – Jim Dau (202) 434-2531

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations – Greg Jefferson 202-637-5087

Black Leadership Forum – Gary L. Flowers 202-689-1965

Center for Responsible Lending – Kathleen Day 202-349-1871 or Sharon Reuss 919-313-8527

Community Development Financial Institution Coalition 703- 294-6970

Consumer Action – Linda Sherry 202-544-3088

Consumer Federation of America – Allen Fishbein 202-387-6121

Consumers Union – Jeannine Kenney 202-238-9249

National Association of Consumer Advocates – Ira Rheingold 202-452-1989

National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients) - Alys Cohen 202-452-6252 x102

National Fair Housing Alliance - Lisa Rice 202-898-1661

Opportunity Finance Network – Jennifer Vasiloff 703-967-1338

U.S. Public Interest Research Group – Ed Mierzwinski 202-546-9707 x314

For more information: Kathleen Day at(202) 349-1871 or; Sharon Reuss at (919) 313-8527 or; or Ginna Green at (510) 379-5513 or