Mortgage lenders in the nation's capital would be subjected to local regulation under legislation introduced in the City Council last week.
The measure would require 450-plus mortgage lenders in the city to get licenses from the District of Columbia's Office of Banking and Financial Institutions, according to that department's superintendent, J. Anthony Romero.
Lenders would have to supply data detailing the number and dollar amount of home loans made in the city, as well as an itemized list of loan applications by borrowers' census tracts, income levels, race, and sex.
Mr. Romero said he hopes the legislation will help him identify lenders who charge excessive interest rates on home equity loans. Crooked lenders have been making loans to residents who clearly have no means of repayment, he said.
"There are lenders in the District now who simultaneously prepare loan documents and foreclosure documents," Mr. Romero said. "This bill will allow us to bring these people to order."
Local mortgage industry representatives applauded the bill.
"We've been very supportive of strengthening consumer protections, and this bill isn't going to add a lot of record keeping we don't do already," said David O'Bryon, executive director of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Metropolitan Washington.
The legislative proposal, introduced April 2 by Council Chairman David A. Clarke, will be considered at a hearing by the Economic Development Committee in May.
If passed by the council and approved by D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, the legislation will be sent to Congress. It will become law if federal lawmakers don't object within 30 days.