By using unfair and illegal practices some lenders pressure homeowners into signing up for high cost and often unaffordable mortgage loans. These practices are increasing in New York State.

Practices include inflated interest rates, outrageous (and often hidden) fees, unaffordable repayment terms, and harassing tactics. All of this is done by devious salespersons who trick homeowners into believing that the loan is actually affordable.

Older homeowners and minority groups are targeted. These groups often have credit problems and they need money for home repairs, to cover health costs and/or to consolidate debts. And, they usually have a lot of equity in their homes. Predatory lenders go after their homes using a foreclosure action when the homeowners can't pay the loans.

What to do?
The Westchester County Department of Consumer Protection and its Consumer Advisory Council want to help you before you sign a loan that will get you into financial trouble.

We have a banker and a lawyer on our Consumer Advisory Council who have worked with minority groups and seniors.  They will look over your loan agreement for possible "predatory" practices. If these practices are discovered, we will notify the proper authorities. And we will give you the names of agencies that will work with you to obtain a loan that is fair and affordable.  At all times your privacy will be protected. A member of the Westchester Human Rights Commission will also work with us to make sure that your rights are not being violated.

Call the Department of Consumer Protection (914) 995-2155.

Remember - once you sign a predatory loan, your hard earned money will go to unscrupulous lenders AND your home could be at stake. Know your rights, ask questions and consider consulting a qualified, independent credit counselor or other experienced financial adviser before you proceed. Home ownership counseling is available to all.