Archive for November, 2006

Credit Counseling for Home Buyers?

Reader’s of this credit counseling blog know about consumer credit counseling as a way to deal with your debts, and most people now understand that you must have mandatory credit counseling before filing bankruptcy.

Many people may not realize, however, that since September 1, 2006 residents of certain areas of Chicago, Illinois are required to have credit counseling before they are allowed to purchase a house. The law, called the Illinois Predatory Lending Database, is intended to curb predatory lending by educating borrowers before they enter into a mortgage agreement.

Before buying a home, credit counseling must be obtained from federal Department of Housing and Urban Development-certified counselors for people looking to buy homes in 10 Chicago ZIP codes who have low credit scores or whose income meets other criteria. The law only applies in certain zip codes that the state says have a high proportion of “predatory loans” and higher than average foreclosure rates.

Since most would agree that credit education is sorely lacking in North America, it could be argued that everyone should be forced to attend credit counseling sessions. However, a lawsuit is now underway, arguing that this law unfairly targets minorities. You can read more about it in today’s edition of the Chicago Tribune.