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The FHC provides a wide range of services:

  1.  Complaint investigation, referral and/or resolution
  2.  Referrals for legal services on a contingency or pro bono basis
  3.  Assistance in pursuing fair housing enforcement through the courts
  4. Assistance in the filing of  administrative complaints
  5.  Housing discrimination counseling and education

Predatory Lending is a fair housing issue

Shark Attack! Predatory Lending is a fair housing issue also, as a new breed of scam artists are loose in our communities, attempting to pose as legitimate lenders, brokers, or home improvement contractors. These loan operations target those who can least afford to lose money and threatens to counteract years of public and private funds intended to breathe new life into older neighborhoods. While they lure victims with offers of easy access to money, predatory lenders use high-pressure salespersons, inflated interest rates, outrageous fees, unaffordable repayment terms, unnecessary add-ons, and harassing collection tactics. Homeowners can even be tricked into taking out loans they cannot afford to repay, often at the risk of losing their homes to foreclosure.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Most predatory loans are almost always sub-prime loans, but not all sub-prime loans are predatory. Sub-prime lending addresses a legitimate need, providing loans for individuals with less than perfect credit ratings. The term “sub-prime” refers to the borrower’s credit rating, not to the loan’s interest rate. Sub-prime loans have higher fees and interest rates to compensate for the lender’s higher risk. Overwhelmingly, African Americans, Hispanics, women, the elderly, and low to moderate income persons are being targeted by this market – even when they have very good credit and qualify for loans in the conventional (“prime”) market.

 A few simple steps can keep you from becoming victims:

  • Check it out. If you need to borrow money for home repairs, medical expenses, or bill consolidation, shop around. Compare interest rates and total costs. A lower monthly payment is not always the better deal.
  • Find out what the total cost of the loan will be before making a decision.
  • Use the phone to check out any lender. Ask the lender for names of other customers and call them.
  • Check to see if there have been complaints against any company you are considering.
  • Never act immediately. Avoid lenders who call and promise guaranteed, low-interest loans, take applications over the phone, or offer next day approval if you pay them some money today.
  • Read everything carefully and ask questions. You have a right to know the total cost of the loan, the annual percentage rate, monthly payments, how long you have to pay back the loan and to have all fees explained.
  • Avoid “balloon” payments. One way lenders can make loans sound very attractive is to make the monthly payment small but require a big “balloon” payment at the end of the loan period.
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Copyright © Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches 2013. All Rights Reserved. 1-877-910-FAIR (3247)