Reps. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa. -- in a move that could set the stage for legislative action next year -- have agreed to work together on a bipartisan bill to curb abusive lending practices and override state predatory lending laws."There is a genuine need for strong uniform national lending standards with appropriate enforcement mechanisms," Rep. Kanjorski said. Rep. Kanjorski announced earlier this year that he wanted to draft a bipartisan approach to the problem of predatory lending. Now, the Pennsylvania congressman has decided to use Rep. Ney's bill (H.R. 833) -- the Responsible Lending Act -- as the starting point for a compromise. Besides updating the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act to regulate a larger percentage of subprime loans, Rep. Kanjorski said he wants to address problems associated with the lack of escrow accounts on subprime loans, appraiser independence, and mortgage servicing practices. "I said from the outset that I was flexible and willing to refine H.R. 833," Rep. Ney said. "That's exactly what Rep. Kanjorski and I will do." The two lawmakers are expected to release a discussion draft of their bill in November. "This really sets the issue up for prompt action next year," said Wright Andrews, executive director of the Coalition for Fair and Responsible Lending, which represents subprime lenders.

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