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Illinois governor resurrecting anti-predatory-lending program

Counseling requirements revamped to address redlining concerns

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After suspending a controversial counseling program aimed at reducing predatory lending in some Chicago neighborhoods, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich proposes revamping the program and expanding it to include the entire city and surrounding county. The Illinois Predatory Lending Database Pilot Program, which took effect Sept. 1, required some residents living in 10 Chicago ZIP codes to obtain financial counseling before obtaining a home loan. Critics said the program amounted to state-sponsored redlining, because it dampened housing sales in mostly minority neighborhoods. Those allegations were bolstered by an academic study that showed a decline in sales in the affected ZIP codes, and Blagojevich suspended the program on Jan. 19. The governor's proposal to resurrect the program attempts to address such criticism by tying counseling requirements to the type of loan sought, rather than a borrower's income and credit history, and by expanding the program to include all of Cook County in...