Since North Carolina became the first state five years ago to enact a comprehensive law against predatory mortgage lending, such practices have declined dramatically in the state and subprime lending continues to thrive, according to the Center for Responsible Lending in Durham, N.C.The market grew by an estimated 40% this year, the center said. During the first year alone, citizens of North Carolina saved an estimated $100 million as a result of the law, the nonprofit organization reported. "Abusive home lending practices, particularly among subprime mortgage refinances, cost U.S. consumers an estimated $9.1 billion every year," the center said. In order for legislation to be effective, according to the center, it must limit abusive prepayment penalties that trap borrowers in high-cost loans and kickbacks to brokers that encourage steering and the financing of excessive fees. Predatory lending laws must prevent "flipping" and ensure that homeowners have a right to pursue meaningful remedies and defend their homes against foreclosure even after their loans have been sold, the center said.

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