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May 6, 2000


CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed legislation that will help homeowners make better decisions about financing options, while at the same time protecting communities from high foreclosure rates that have been brought about by a few unethical lending institutions.

The Governor signed the legislation at the Southwest Organizing Project's (SWOP) Third Annual Convention, which was held at Maria High School.

"By signing this bill into law, the regulators at the Department of Financial Institutions and the Office of Banks and Real Estate will now be able to draft rules protecting consumers from so-called predatory lenders," Ryan said. "My goal is to make sure people have a wide range of options when financing a home or major repair, but before they agree to any large loan they should get as much information as possible from as many different sources as possible."

Senate Bill 355 will allow the State to regulate practices by predatory lenders so that consumers are protected. Often consumers sign on for a high-risk loan without knowing all of the facts. Now, the state will draft rules requiring the lender to make sure counseling has been provided to the consumer so they can evaluate the risks and benefits.

The governor was joined by House sponsors Speaker Michael Madigan, who is a resident of Chicago's Southwest Side and a proponent of community stabilization programs, Rep. Michael Fritchey, and Senate sponsors Sen. Patrick O'Malley and Sen. Jim Rea.

The Southwest Organizing Project is a broad-based citizens' organization, made up of 25 churches, schools and other institutions, working to improve life in Chicago's Southwest Neighborhoods.

If consumers have any questions about predatory lending or would like to learn about assistance available through the Mortgage Awareness Program, they should call their state regulator at 1-888-298-8089.


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