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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor
NEWS ADVISORY
SUBJECT: SOCR’s new predatory lending packet helps consumers understand home loans
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
2/28/2003  3:20:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Elliott Bronstein  (206) 684-4507


SOCR’s new predatory lending packet
helps consumers understand home loans

Now available: Fair Loans, Fair HousingYour Guide to Avoiding Predatory Loans from the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR). This new information packet uses simple language to discuss a complicated problem: unfair loans that target people of color, seniors, people with disabilities or anyone whose credit makes it hard to get a regular bank mortgage.

"Whether you’re buying your first home or refinancing, this packet can help you receive fair, unbiased treatment," write Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and SOCR Director Germaine Covington in the packet’s introduction. "Victims of predatory lending are usually low to middle income families who face the loss of their home through foreclosure."

SOCR’s predatory lending information packet contains a booklet, a stand-alone brochure, and several pullout sheets. Booklet sections include:

  • What is a predatory loan?
  • Danger signs of a predatory loan
  • How to avoid a predatory loan
  • Questions to ask your lender

The booklet includes advice about shopping for a loan, as well as what to watch for when you apply. A "Loan Closing Checklist" offers questions and instructions to help guide home mortgage customers through the loan signing process.

A pull-out list of non-profit organizations helps consumers find free, independent advice on mortgage loans. There’s also a "Fee and Point Calculation" chart, as well as a glossary of the most common home loan terms.

Predatory lending has emerged as a significant fair housing problem both locally and on the national scene. Since last year the City of Seattle has been working with the Seattle/King County Coalition for Responsible Lending, a group of local nonprofits, mortgage lenders, and other government agencies to challenge the increasing number of predatory lending cases in the Seattle area. On April 17 the Coalition will announce the start of a public education campaign focusing on predatory lending.

To receive a copy of Fair Loans Fair Housing, or for more information about SOCR’s predatory lending initiatives, contact Angela Ceaser at (206) 684-0300. The Seattle Office for Civil Rights investigates charges of discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations and contracts. To find out more call (206) 684-4500, or find SOCR on the Web at www.seattle.gov/civilrights.

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Office for Civil Rights

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