Acting Pennsylvania Banking Secretary Victoria A. Reider has sent a letter alerting the commonwealth's mortgage companies about new guidelines outlining acceptable conduct for the state's 3,000 lenders and brokers.The new guidelines are part of an effort to protect consumers looking for home loans, the department said. They offer examples and definitions of practices considered dishonest, fraudulent, illegal, unfair, unethical, negligent, or incompetent. Companies that fail to conform to the new guidelines could face suspension, revocation, or nonrenewal of their licenses. The Department of Banking said it is also crafting regulations and seeking legislative reforms to better protect consumers. The changes mirror recommendations outlined in a 2005 report to the General Assembly, "Losing the American Dream: A Report on Residential Mortgage Foreclosures and Abusive Lending Practices in Pennsylvania."

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