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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 22 October 2008

A s a result of the tremendous growth in the mortgage lending industry and an increase in consumer complaints, Department of Consumer and Business Services conducted a review of its mortgage-lending program and held a public forum in 2006. The department identified many consumer and industry concerns that needed to be addressed, and, since then, has taken several steps to strengthen its regulation of the industry.
• Increased educational requirements, supervision of loan originators.
• Guidelines for nontraditional loans.
• Tougher examination for loan originators.
• Increased enforcement.
• Increased examinations. DCBS hired 2 new examiners, allowing it to start examining out-of-state licensees.
• Foreclosure outreach campaign. DCBS developed a brochure and Web page (www.dfcs.oregon.gov/ml/foreclosure.html) with tips and resources to help consumers avoid foreclosure and started conducting presentations throughout the state.
• Stricter advertising rules. DCBS adopted new, stricter rules to prevent deceptive or misleading advertising by mortgage lenders.
• Launched industry newsletter.
• Organized Governor's Mortgage Lending Work Group.
• Helped develop additional foreclosure counseling resources and assistance. DCBS helped facilitate two grants to local organizations to provide counseling and legal assistance for Oregonians facing foreclosure. The National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling program trains and funds local nonprofits that provide foreclosure counseling. DCBS provided about $85,000 to OHCS for matching funds and additional resources. In addition, the Oregon Law Center will receive $75,000 a year for three years to hire a staff attorney to do exclusively foreclosure relief work. DCBS also is partnering with SafeNet to offer help to consumers through SafeNet's toll-free number (1-800-SAFENET) and Web site (www.211info.org).

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