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Legislators Seek 'Fix' for GA Law

Legislation has been introduced here in both the House and Senate to alleviate some of the misery mortgage funders and investors are feeling from the Georgia Fair Lending Act.

Once reconciled into a final bill, language introduced in House Bill 142 and Senate Bill 53 could stop the exodus of subprime and nonconforming lenders fleeing Georgia.

According to attorney Therese Franzen, SB53 addresses three key issues: it exempts FHA and VA loans from the GFLA, it fixes concerns raised by the bond rating agencies and it offers state-chartered depositories parity with federally-chartered institutions.

The two bills could be reconciled by the two chambers as early as this week and then sent to the governor for his signature.

Washington attorney Wright Andrews of Butera & Andrews noted that the House bill eliminates the "covered" loans category, but single-premium credit life insurance is still banned.

"This gives you some safe harbors," he said.

Beginning in February, Standard & Poor's stopped rating structured transactions that involve loans covered by the GFLA. Other rating agencies have followed suit. Investors and servicers fear the Georgia law, and others like it, could leave them facing litigation for violations made by a loan originator.

The position taken by the rating agencies has hurt the secondary market for subprime and nonconforming loans.

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