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Shady lenders the subject of hearings

Concerned about reports that some metro neighborhoods are being targeted by "predatory" lenders, state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, will convene hearings next week in which victims of unscrupulous lenders can air their stories. Practices such as enormous balloon payments, "flipping" (re-selling the same mortgage several times, and adding fees with each transaction), requiring borrowers to purchase costly insurance policies, inflated "points" and other such techniques led federal housing officials to recently announce a 90-day moratorium on some residential mortgages in DeKalb County.

Describing shady lenders as "nothing more than new-age loan sharks," Fort says he plans to introduce new legislation targeting such lenders during the 2001 General Assembly. "They prey on individuals who are in financial need, and ultimately abuse the elderly and undereducated," says Fort.

The hearings convene at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 12 in room 450 of the state Capitol.





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