Major civil rights lenders have joined consumer advocates in opposing a predatory lending bill whose supporters hope will garner bipartisan support in Congress and pave the way for setting federal standards on subprime lending.Julian Bond, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the bill crafted by Reps. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., fails to provide meaningful consumer protections. "Their bill demonstrates a failure to address the real pain caused by predatory lending and the harm it is doing to African-American families," he said. Mr. Bond and the Rev. Jesse Jackson endorsed an alternative bill, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Barney Frank (Mass.), Brad Miller (N.C.), and Mel Watt (N.C.), which is modeled after the North Carolina predatory lending law. The National Fair Lending Alliance and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights criticized the Ney-Kanjorski bill for pre-empting state predatory lending laws and failing to ban mandatory arbitration on all loans. The bill (H.R. 1295) bans mandatory arbitration only on high-cost subprime loans. Mortgage Bankers Association vice president Erick Gustafson said the Ney-Kanjorski bill represents a "very solid step toward a compromise" that enhances consumer protections. "We hope the consumer advocates will remain open-minded and continue to engage in the legislative process," Mr. Gustafson said.

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