ATLANTA – Credit unions are looking real good these days with corporate scandal after scandal and major financial firms being pounded by lawsuits. Household International, parent company for Household Finance, one of the nation’s largest home lending firms, has agreed to pay $484 million to state attorneys general and regulators to pay for the alleged predatory lending practices of its subsidiaries. The settlement, going to more than a dozen different states, dwarfs Citigroup’s recent payment to Federal regulators of $215 million. As part of the settlement Household agreed to limit penalties for prepayment of both existing and new loans to the first two years of the loan; determine that a new loan is actually providing a benefit to the consumer prior to refinancing an existing loan; limit up-front points and origination fees to 5% of the loan amount; reform and improve disclosures provided to consumers; eliminate “piggyback” second mortgages where a customer enters into a transaction for two loans at a time, with the second mortgage having substantially higher transaction fees and interest rates; and will not charge points or fees if the mortgage is refinanced within 12 months

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