The second-ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee is working on a bill to protect consumers from predatory lending and to create a national standard for subprime lending.Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., calls it a "subprime bill" and says he hopes to draft a consensus approach in the next 30-60 days that is acceptable to most members of the committee. Rep. Kanjorski's announcement at an America's Community Bankers conference immediately set off speculation that the House may be able to pass a predatory lending bill this year if it has solid Democratic support. However, Rep. Kanjorski told MortgageWire that it would be difficult to pass a bill this year, but said he hopes to lay the groundwork for next year. The controversy over the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's pre-emption rule "highlights the need for a national standard," the congressman said in an interview. "It makes the membership aware that we cannot duck major issues" and leave it to the regulators. In related news, the chairman of the housing subcommittee, Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, plans to hold a hearing on subprime lending March 30. Rep. Ney is the sponsor of a predatory lending bill.

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