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Smith, colleagues call for crackdown on predatory homebuyer lenders

Sen. Tina Smith

Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., is calling on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to improve protections for Minnesotans and Americans purchasing manufactured homes, after hearing from multiple consumer advocates that unwitting homebuyers are often steered toward higher-cost loans.

Smith—a member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs—and eight of her Senate colleagues highlighted the lack of transparency manufactured homebuyers face when it comes to lending practices in a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger. The letter was led by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.

"Typically, the majority of consumers who have not actively sought to educate themselves prior to visiting a retailer will first learn about the process of financing, purchasing and owning their home from sales staff on a retail lot," the letter states. "These initial interactions have historically led to practices that steered buyers to higher-cost chattel loans offered by the financial affiliates of the retail company,

"We urge the CFPB to work with consumer advocates to design and implement an appropriate disclosure form that ensures manufactured home buyers understand their options and are not steered into high-cost loans."

In addition to Sens. Smith and Cortez Masto, the letter was signed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal., D-Conn., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Chris Van Hollen D-Md., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.