A new national network is certifying lenders as "safe," "fair" and free of predatory lending.
The 21-member nonprofit network, the Fair Mortgage Collaborative, is supported by the Ford Foundation and is being billed as the first national campaign to restore consumer confidence in the wake of the ongoing mortgage foreclosure crisis, which in part was fueled by predatory lending abuses.
The Fair Mortgage Collaborative certifies that lenders which meet five standards of conduct are "fair and safe," including a ban on predatory lending practices. In addition, "certified lending organizations"-such as BECU (Boeing Employees' Credit Union), Prime Alliance Solutions, Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises, Inc., Mortgage Grader and Clearinghouse CDFI-will offer the new FMC-certified "fair and safe" mortgages across the country.
FMC's current crop of certified lending organizations provide mortgages currently totaling $520 million per year. The group expects that level to double or more in the first year of the program.
Other members of FMC include the Calvert Foundation, the National Council of La Raza, the Consumer Federation of America, NeighborWorks America, Neighborhood Housing Services of America and Housing Partnership Network, as well as Acorn Housing, All Ahead, Center for Responsible Lending, Heron Foundation, NHS Chicago, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, Opportunity Finance Network, School of Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University, SEEDCO, Self-Help Credit Union, ShoreBank Corporation and Wall Street Without Walls.