2002-09-07 / Community

Legislation Passed To

End Predatory Lending

End Predatory Lending

New York City Council Member James Sanders Jr. joined his colleagues on the Consumer Affairs Committee to pass landmark legislation designed to reduce the destructive practice of predatory lending. Before casting his vote, Sanders spoke briefly about his excitement at the prospect of passage of a bill into which he has committed so much passionate advocacy.

"I have been involved with many worthy bills since taking the oath of office in January," Sanders told the packed committee room. "But none commanded the amount of time and energy I gladly expended upon this legislation. This bill is special."

"I represent a part of Southeast Queens that is the heart of the predatory lending belt," Sanders said. "I have met dozens of New Yorkers, many of them my constituents, who have been victimized by predatory lenders. People of color are targeted, as are the elderly. Their dream of homeownership is too often transformed into the nightmare of foreclosure."

Predatory lending is the making of unethical and abusive mortgage loans that include excessive and often disguised fees, inflated rates, and other practices, such as making loans the borrower cannot repay. Predatory lending has grown significantly over the past 10 years; accordingly, these abusive practices cost New York City’s homeowners tens of millions of dollars in unnecessary and unethical fees.

The goal of the bill is to enable the City to take responsibility to protect homeowners who are subject to predatory lending practices. Under the terms of the bill, the City will refuse to do business with predatory lenders who target vulnerable homeowners, strip homeowner equity and destabilize New York communities through increased foreclosure actions.

"The City Council has the opportunity to end New York’s complicity in these predatory acts," Sanders said. "Today, this Committee can vote for an anti-predatory lending bill that can make a real difference to New York homeowners, while setting the gold standard for other cities and states to follow."

The bill was introduced by Speaker Gifford Miller and strongly supported by the Council’s Black and Hispanic Caucus and the community organization ACORN, among others.

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