American Business Financial Services Inc., Bala Cynwyd, Pa., has announced a joint agreement with the U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia that ends a civil inquiry by the U.S. attorney and will result in modifications to the company's forbearance policy.ABFS said the inquiry had focused on its policy of requiring a "deed in lieu of foreclosure" as part of its forbearance arrangements with seriously delinquent customers. Under the joint agreement, it will no longer require such deeds in cases where the real estate securing the loan is the borrower's primary residence. It will also return unrecorded deeds in lieu of foreclosure to consumers who provided them under forbearance arrangements, ABFS said. In addition, the company said it will -- under the agreement, and as a demonstration of its "commitment to fair lending practices" -- contribute $80,000 over 13 months to one or more housing counseling groups that are approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and that assist consumers in states where ABFS makes loans. The company's website address is http://www.abfsonline.com.

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