Governor Brad Henry signs bill on home loans

Friday, May 30th 2003, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Gov. Brad Henry has signed into law a bill regulating home refinancing loans, which was harshly criticized by consumer advocates.

Henry, who signed the bill about 11:15 p.m. Thursday, said he agonized over the decision.

``Very good people on both sides of this issue made compelling arguments for and against this legislation,'' Henry said. ``But in the final analysis, I felt consumers would be better served by my approval of the bill.''

House Bill 1574 was criticized because it permitted finance companies and banks to charge up to 8 percent in upfront fees to refinance a home.

``In my discussions on House Bill 1574, even its detractors agreed that it included many important consumer protections and that their opposition was based primarily on their belief that the bill didn't go far enough,'' Henry said.

``I understand some will be disappointed by this decision, but as governor, I do not have the authority to rewrite legislation after it reaches my desk. I can only make an up and down decision on the product presented to me by the Legislature.''

He said the effects of the bill should be monitored to see if additional regulations are needed to protect consumers.

``I will do what I can to ensure that a bill is introduced next session to address the concerns in question,'' he said.

The bill was opposed by officials of an anti-poverty group in Tulsa, who said it legalized ``predatory lending.''

The bill governs so-called sub-prime loans, which often are made by people who have credit problems.

Supporters said restricting such loans too much would hurt economic development and dry up loan money.

Henry announced he had vetoed House Bill 1790, which he said could permit electronic gaming devices in charity bingo halls.

He also vetoed House Bill 1738, saying it would have cut off information oil and gas companies are now required to provide to royalty owners.

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