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ONU Law College Host Predatory Lending Symposium

A continuing legal education symposium on Predatory/Subprime Lending will be offered at 8:45 a.m., April 27 in Room 129 of the Pettit College of Law on the campus of Ohio Northern University. Participants will be eligible for 3.25 hours of CLU credit.

Registration, including lunch, is $20 for those receiving CLE, $10 for non-CLE. Deadline is April 24.

The program is sponsored by the Office of Alumni and Career Services and the Faculty Pro Bono/Public Interest Committee of the Ohio Northern University College of Law. This event is held in conjunction with the 10th Annual Public Interest Auction, which provides funding to support law students' summer placements with public interest organizations.

Predatory or subprime lending has received national attention with Ohio cited as one of the states in which the problem is most prevalent.

Unlike first mortgages, which are offered to credit-worthy borrowers under long-term rates, less credit-worthy borrowers are obligated to obtain subprime lending, which may include second mortgages from lenders catering to higher risk markets. Rates of subprime (or predatory) loans are usually significantly higher, have more onerous default provisions, and are based upon unregulated "drive by" appraisals of properties. Such appraisals do not involve actual inspection of a property supporting a mortgage and may not be completed by an appraisal professional. The value of the property is often based on calculations to justify the loan.

The slightest economic difficulty can force a subprime borrower into default and the entire balance comes due. Default rates, and thus foreclosures, are skyrocketing in rural Ohio.

Subprime borrowers are often unaware the high-risk nature of the mortgage they are signing.

A new Ohio law to protect these consumers has just taken effect. Many consumer advocates praise it as one of the most pro-consumer laws in the nation.

The ONU symposium will include people active in the enactment of the Ohio law and legal service attorneys and community organizers who will discuss strategies for protecting lower-income borrowers.

Bankruptcy and state court receiverships will be discussed by Ohio Northern University law professor and trustee in bankruptcy, Bruce Comly French. Ohio Northern University law graduate Warren M. Ballentine will discuss similar programs in Illinois.

In conjunction with the symposium, the Annual Pro Bono/Public Interest luncheon and auction, will raise funds for law students' summer public interest placements. In the past nine years, over $40,000 has been raised at the auction to support these efforts.

To register, call the law alumni office at 419-772-1980 or email: lawalumni@onu.edu