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January/February 2007, 
Vol. 89, No. 1
Posted 2007-01-01

The Varying Effects of Predatory Lending Laws on High-Cost Mortgage Applications

by Giang Ho and Anthony Pennington-Cross

Federal, state, and local predatory lending laws are designed to restrict and in some cases prohibit certain types of high-cost mortgage credit in the subprime market. Empirical evidence using the spatial variation in these laws shows that the aggregate flow of high-cost mortgage credit can increase, decrease, or be unchanged after these laws are enacted. Although it may seem counterintuitive to find that a law that prohibits lending could be associated with more lending, it is hypothesized that a law may reduce the cost of sorting honest loans from dishonest loans and lessen the borrowers’ fears of predation, thus stimulating the high-cost mortgage market.