Bar News - December 14, 2007
Consumer Education is Part of the Cure
In addition to its enforcement actions against sharp lending practices, the Banking Department has embarked on a campaign to better educate borrowers and potential borrowers.
According to NH Banking Commissioner Peter Hildreth, consumers need to know what their rights are and understand how the finance industry works. Most important, they must understand how much they can truly afford to borrow. The Banking Department has begun holding informational sessions around the state where department examiners review loan documents with borrowers. The goal of the sessions is two-fold; to help the consumers be aware of what their contracts mean as well as keeping an eye out for unfair or deceptive loan terms.
More about these and other educational and consumer services can be found at the NH Banking Department Web site: www.nh.gov/banking.
There also are numerous non-profit and government sponsored educational sources and programs:
www.cccsnh-vt.org: Consumer Credit Counseling Service of New Hampshire and Vermont (CCCS), founded in 1972, is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, and operates eleven offices in New Hampshire and five in Vermont. Services - confidential counseling and assistance to families and individuals needing guidance in managing their money, use of credit and debt repayment - are available to all residents of New Hampshire and Vermont.
www.dontborrowtroublenh.org: A public education initiative aimed at preventing predatory lending practices in New Hampshire. The Campaign seeks to educate families and individuals about how to avoid predatory lending scams and about available community resources.
www.lendingtree.com/smartborrower: Lending Tree, an online lending and realty business, offers a Smart Borrower Center on their Web site where consumers can get information on getting credit and on responsible debt management.
www.nhhfa.org: New Hampshire Housing is a statewide housing resource. They promote finance, support, affordable housing opportunities and related services for New Hampshire families and individuals.
www.nhla.org: New Hampshire Legal Assistance is a non-profit law firm that provides legal services in civil matters to senior citizens and eligible low-income persons.
www.responsiblelending.org: The Center for Responsible Lending is a non-profit, non-partisan research and policy organization dedicated to protecting homeownership and family wealth by working to eliminate abusive financial practices.