Sanders Says He’s A Victim Of Predatory Lending
When the housing bubble burst and the recession began, predatory lending was one of the main factors behind what is now called, ‘the great recession.’ Now it turns out that one of our local representatives has gotten caught up in a practice he has fought against since taking office.
Since he was first elected to the City Council, Councilman James Sanders Jr. has been on the attack against predatory lending. In 2002, Sanders called the 31st Council District “the heart of the predatory lending zone.” He now calls himself a victim of predatory lending as he faces possible eviction from his home, which is now in the process of being foreclosed on.
As part of its series called “Dirty little secrets: City Council members have skirted laws, bent rules and abused their power,” the Daily News reported on March 20, that Sanders bought a $588,000 home with no money down. He is now facing foreclosure and eviction. The paper cites that the councilman did not report his own problem with predatory lending even as he was on the attack against it.
“Like millions of home owners throughout America, my personal finances were affected by America’s economic meltdown, and it is true that my own home is presently in a foreclosure proceeding,” said Sanders in a press release. “As we now know, the predatory lending practices of banks and financial institutions conspired to jeopardize the mortgages, estates and assets of millions of hard working, middle class Americans, and I was among those most directly and personally affected.”
Predatory lending occurs when a financial lender sends a persuasive salesperson who convinces homeowners to take out loans they cannot afford.
“From the very beginning of the financial crisis, I set out to learn all I could about the real estate bubble, and it was only then that I discovered that my family and I were likely the victims of dishonest, deceitful and fundamentally corrupt lending practices that have put our home into foreclosure,” Sanders continued in the press release.
“Sadly, we do not live in a perfect world, and I am no different from the millions of other victims who were targeted by banking practices that have hurt every American; but I intend to keep fighting. As we speak, I am a litigant in a law suit filed in Court that I hope will be a watershed moment, allowing other victims to learn that they too have a way to fight back. However, as the outcome of that case is still pending, I feel that it is in no one’s best interest for me to comment further on the specifics at this time.”
In 2002, Sanders authored (and passed) the toughest anti-predatory lending law in the country to protect homeowners. The law prohibited the City from doing business with institutions that engage in any way in predatory lending. It also regulates the participation of home improvement contractors in the home loan market. The bill was defeated in federal court. In 2003, Sanders introduced a resolution calling upon Congress to respect the authority of state and local elected officials to protect their constituents from predatory loans. In 2009 the councilman announced he would introduce a bill targeting unscrupulous consultants who take homeowners’ money and do nothing on their behalf to fight foreclosures.
Sanders ended his press release by saying, “What I can tell you is that I’ve been among the leaders in the City Council in fighting predatory lending, and I intend to continue this fight, each and every day, as both a victim, and the representative of thousands of other victims of this crime.”