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Putting an End to Predatory Lending

“Foreclosure on a family home is the American dream lost. Foreclosures uproot families, destroy credit and lock individuals out of the housing market while destabilizing neighborhoods and lowering property values.”
Jimmy Dimora, President of the County Board of Commissioners

Cuyahoga County had an estimated 10,000 foreclosures in 2005, four times more than in 1998, and among the highest in the nation. The just-announced foreclosure prevention program will make counseling available to help homeowners avoid losing their homes. Funding sources include our County budget, Freddie Mac, and several banks.

Predatory lenders

If citizens were being assaulted on our streets, educating them about where to walk and what to do after they have been mugged would be seen as a helpful response — but not enough. We would demand that our government, whose first responsibility is to protect its citizens, get the muggers off our streets.

We all know who these muggers are. They are the predatory lenders who prey on unwary homeowners.

Though the county's press release on this program made no mention of predatory lending, Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Corporation), a supporter, titled its press release "Cuyahoga county, numerous organizations kick off countywide effort to prevent foreclosures, predatory lending." (bold added). Our Mayor Frank Jackson says "Consumer education is key in combating predatory lending and helping to prevent foreclosures."

see "Posters" below

Legislating against predatory lending practices

Cleveland has already developed a predatory lending law. Now the Ohio State legislature is at work, crafting a bill for Ohio. But in her recent (April 9, 2006) hard-hitting story Plain Dealer columnist Sheryl Harris writes:

"The Ohio House has made a hash of the predatory-lending bill, so it will fall to a joint House-Senate conference committee to draft something sensible." read entire story

The minutes of the Ohio House of Representatives show the amended bill, which lacks so many needed safeguards, passing 89-5. It was important for legislators to tell voters that they voted "yes". So much so that after the bill passed 40 of them asked to be added as sponsors of this flawed bill.

PD Columnist Harris tells us how we can help get stronger legislation to help fighting predatory lending and asks us to get involved.

Why should we get involved?

Get involved because this is a neighborhood issue. As Jimmy Dimora (see introduction) says so well, it is more than an attack on decent, hard-working homeowners. It lowers property values and destabilizes neighborhoods.

Read the Plain Dealer column to learn ways we can get involved by contacting our legislators. Help in reaching them is on our new Contact page. Don't delay. The time is now.


Full page ready-to-print colorful posters are available on the Cuyahoga County web site in English and Spanish. (Acrobat Reader required.)

How to get help

Call 211 First Call For Help at (216) 436-2000. It is a 24 hour a day every day free community service supported by United Way. The foreclosure counselors are supported with funds provided by the county and leading banks.

Some banks are much better citizens than others

As good citizens, we should also expect our banks to be good citizens — supporting community lending and making banking  services more widely available to the general public. To see how well your bank does, click here.

Web Resources


On Sunday, December 17, 2006 PD consumer reporter Sheryl Harris reports

"In a single day, they [lame duck Ohio House and Senate members] tore the heart from the state's 30-year-old Consumer Sales Practices Act and crippled the state's tough new predatory-lending law before it even went into effect."

To read her hard-hitting story on the Plain Dealer website, click here.

To see who in Northern Ohio voted for this bill, see our Grinch List.

A Plain Dealer editorial of December 20 asked the Governor to end his term on a positive note by vetoing this bill, but Governor Taft left office without vetoing or signing the bill. Right after his inauguration, Governor Strickland went to his office and vetoed SR 177.

The latest news is that Republican leaders have filed a lawsuit re: veto (PD, February 3).


Attorney General's staff to focus on predatory lending (PD Feb 27)

Shaker Heights Community Update on predatory lending and foreclosures
March 2007 click here 


August 2, 2007 

The tortured twisted path of S.B. (Senate Bill) 117, and consumer protection for Ohioans both took a dive yesterday as the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Governor Ted Strickland could not veto the bill, and that the bill was now law.

So for the moment — until the legislature acts in favor of consumers — the grinches have won. The penalties faced by merchants and lenders for deceptive practices have been cut.

To read her story on the Plain Dealer website, click here.



Ohio Senate Bill 117, passed in December 2007, reduced Ohio's consumer protections, including punishment of predatory lenders.
A citizen referendum petition campaign started in August 2007. Given only 60 days to do its work and without major funding, the campaign raised public awareness, but could not raise the required quarter million signatures. To visit the website, click here.
(Disclosure: your Shaker Square webkeeper developed the site.)

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