Governor Signs Bills To Help Homeowners

Governor Mike Easley says three bills signed today will protect North Carolina homeowners from foreclosure and predatory lenders.

Easley says the bills strengthen the predatory lending laws approved in 1999, which he says are a model for the rest of the nation. He says the 1999 law is good, but unscrupulous lenders have "come up with new ways to trick people."

For example, he says if a homeowner signs up for an adjustable rate mortgage, the lender must disclose the high end of the interest rate. The homeowner must be able to qualify right away for the higher rate.

Lenders also must disclose any fees and all mortgage payments must go to mortgages and not fees.

Banking Commissioner Joe Smith was at the signing. Smith has expanded enforcement powers under the new laws.