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The Impact of Local Predatory Lending Laws

Local authorities in North Carolina, and subsequently in at least 23 other states, have enacted laws intending to reduce predatory and abusive lending. While there is substantial variation in the laws, they typically extend the coverage of the Federal Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) by including home purchase and open-end mortgage credit, by lowering annual percentage rate (APR) and fees and points triggers, and by prohibiting or restricting the use of balloon payments and prepayment penalties. This paper provides a detailed summary of various local predatory lending laws that are effective as of the end of 2004. We also create an index that captures differences in the strength of the local laws along the two important dimensions of coverage and restrictions. In addition, our univariate results show that there is substantial heterogeneity in the observed market responses to the local laws.

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