FTC'S Northeast Regional Office Hosts Forum on Predatory Lending

For Release

Illegal "predatory" lending practices that often exploit lower-income and minority borrowers and frequently target elderly homeowners will be the focus of a public forum on April 3, 2001, at the Alexander Hamilton Custom House, 1 Bowling Green, New York City, from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm. The Predatory Lending Forum, hosted by the Federal Trade Commission's Northeast Regional Office, will bring together about 300 consumer advocates, bankers, state and federal regulators, and New York homeowners and senior citizens to explore legislative, legal and community-based initiatives that combat predatory lending.

Co-sponsors of the Predatory Lending Forum are the AARP, the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General's Office, the Consumer Affairs Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the Better Business Bureau serving Metropolitan New York, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, the National Consumer Law Center, the New York Bankers Association, the New York Urban League and the NAACP of New York.

Speakers and panelists at the event include FTC Commissioner Mozelle Thompson, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, Michael Smith, President of the New York Bankers Association, E. Robert Levy, Executive Director and Counsel of the Mortgage Bankers Association of New Jersey and Sarah Ludwig, Executive Director of NY's Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project.

Some of the topics covered will be:

  • Recent changes in state regulations governing high risk loans in New York, Massachusetts and North Carolina.
  • FTC's recommendations to strengthen federal laws governing second-mortgage financing.
  • Recent litigation against predatory lenders by federal and state enforcement officials and the private bar.
  • Creative initiatives by industry and public-private partnerships to increase access to mainstream financing in minority and lower income neighborhoods.

The forum will conclude in a break-out session to develop a plan of further action for a consumer education campaign among the forum's co-sponsors.

"This conference presents a terrific opportunity for consumers, industry and government to join forces to address predatory lending practices," said Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The information exchanged and the ideas generated at this conference set the stage for meaningful action."

Information regarding the FTC's law enforcement actions and consumer education material about home equity fraud are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 202-326-2502.

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Howard Shapiro,
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2176
Staff Contact:
Cindy Kapadia,
Northeast Regional Office
212-607-2807