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Campaign Will Aim at Predatory Lenders

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Civic leaders and housing officials will announce a campaign to fight predatory lenders today (Monday).

The program features a hotline homebuyers can call to get legal and financial advice to avoid unscrupulous lending practices.

Local housing officials say African-Americans are often illegally steered towards homes in certain communities.

Missouri Congressman William Lacy Clay says solving that problem takes broad cooperation.

"A lot of those are going to require regulators working with the industry to help us weed out the bad actors," Clay says. "And we have seen signs of that cooperation of the people coming together to weed out the bad actors."

Predatory lending victimizes homebuyers through racial discrimination or the charging of exorbitant or unnecessary fees.

Clay says that can lead to evictions, which often de-stabilize neighborhoods. He says the new program arms consumers with legal and financial information to avoid entrapment.

"We want to get the word out that you don't have to be steered towards predators, and that there's help for you if you hit financial difficulty."

The campaign provides access to more than 40 community organizations, lenders and government agencies.

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