Ohio Dept. of Commerce Beefs Up Mortgage Enforcement Division
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Fraudsters thinking of committing mortgage fraud in Ohio take notice - the state is increasing its mortgage enforcement division by 33%. Even Gov. Bob Taft is throwing his support behind the effort by pushing for new legislation that would crack down on deceptive lending, require appraisers to be licensed and expand background checks on loan officers to include any criminal records outside Ohio. The state Department of Commerce plans to add 14 positions to its 29-person staff that handles mortgage licensing and enforcement. The new positions will cost $1.5 million annually. Six of the new positions will be investigators and examiners who will work in field offices. They're expected to begin working by the end of March. A spokesman for the governor's office said Taft is supportive of new legislative because in the last two years, Ohio has moved into the number one spot in foreclosures. In addition, he said the governor is concerned about recent reports that abusive lending is spreading to new areas. The spokesman said tougher laws "will be among (Taft's) top priorities" in 2006.