Citizens for Community Improvement claimed a victory this week in getting a big lender to quit what the action group terms “predatory lending practices.” Lending Task Force co-chair Sally Riggs explains some of the practices are things you’ve heard about in the news like “balloon” payments that take a borrower by surprise as loans may be for more than the home’s value thanks to a false appraisal. Lenders may tack on lots of other fees, or change an old loan to a newer high-interest mortgage from the same lender, the practice dubbed “flipping.” Riggs says she’s an example of lending practices that have affected as many as 30-thousand families in Iowa alone.She and her husband took out a home loan plus a little more to pay off credit cards and remodel, then found they had a mortgage for more than the house’s value, at an interest rate so high they can’t pay it off. After having experts look at her mortgage, Riggs says she also discovered she’ll owe a big “balloon payment” at the end of the mortgage period. Riggs has advice for homeowners who wonder if their home-loan has a fatal flaw, contact the lender or take a close look at the papers. Get a lawyer, whose expert analysis will be worth it. C-C-I and the Federal Trade Commission say they’ve forced one lender to drop predatory practices.She says this is a national problem, not just for Des Moines homebuyers. They’re trying to get a law passed in Iowa so people don’t lose a house because of a bad loan. Citizens for Community Improvement says the advocacy group worked with the Federal Trade Commission to get CitiFinancial to drop its high-cost loan program.
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