By Natalie Abrams, Esq., Assistant General Counsel; Maureen Coleman, Esq., Assistant General Counsel; and Susan Barnes, Director, of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services

Increased access to mortgage loans has led to increased home ownership across the U.S. While this growth in home ownership is positive, it has become evident that some of this increase has unfortunately occurred simultaneously with a rise in predatory lending practices. Among others, these predatory practices include the following: charging excessive interest or fees; making a loan to a borrower that is beyond the borrower's financial ability to repay; charging excessive prepayment penalties; encouraging a borrower to refinance a loan notwithstanding the lack of benefit to the borrower; and increasing interest rates upon default.

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