In a 45-19 vote, the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services this week approved mortgage reform legislation that has drawn fire from some consumer groups and mortgage professionals alike. The legislation, HR 3915, would establish a national mortgage licensing system and registry for mortgage brokers and bank employees who originate mortgages; create loan-origination standards and minimum standards for the issuance of all mortgages; enhance consumer protections such as safeguards for renters of foreclosed homes; and create an office of housing counseling within the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department. A number of consumer and advocacy groups, including the Center for Responsible Lending, Consumer Federation of America and Consumers Union, among others, expressed support for some provisions of the proposed bill while criticizing the bill's lack of legal recourse for consumers "who are taken advantage of by unscrupulous or reckless lenders, brokers and investors...
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