Bill would allow Oregon AG to prosecute lenders

By Chris Rizo | Feb 17, 2010

John Kroger (D)

SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newsline)-Oregon Attorney General John Kroger would be able to prosecute lenders under legislation approved Wednesday by House lawmakers.

The proposal -- House Bill 3706 -- would put mortgage banks under the state's Unlawful Trade Practices Act, allowing the attorney general to prosecute lenders that allegedly mislead their customers when issuing loans or extending credit.

Currently, banks and other lenders are not subject to Oregon's Unlawful Trade Practices Act.

"This bill provides protections from lenders that consumers do not currently possess, including the ability to go after national and out-of-state lenders that are not currently regulated in Oregon," said state Rep. Paul Holvey, D-Eugene, who carried the proposal on the House floor.

Passed by a 35 to 25 vote, the bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration. If the bill clears the upper chamber and is signed by Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski, the measure becomes law immediately.

State Rep. Nick Kahl, D-Portland, a member of the House Revenue Committee, which sponsored the legislation, said the bill would protect consumers from nefarious lending practices.

"This bill ends the free pass given to lenders that mislead their customers," Kahl said in a statement. "Victims of fraudulent lending practices will now have a true means of responding to these unscrupulous acts on the part of lenders. If you try to rip off an Oregon consumer, you will be held accountable under the law."

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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