The ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee says he does not believe secondary-market investors should be held liable for onerous subprime loans made to consumers.In a statement issued prior to a subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., said assignee liability "should not be about going after those with deep pockets." He added that the assignee liability standard in current law (under the Home Ownership Equity Protection Act) "does not work." He said HOEPA loans are not being originated because of a lack of legal certainty for secondary-market players. "As we look for ways to address predatory-lending practices, any assignee liability standard must include safe-harbor" protections, he said. The Alabama congressman said "all participants" in the mortgage process need to share responsibility when it comes to predatory lending.

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