Hocking the family home to pay down credit cards has become an American tradition. But a new twist-loans that exceed the home's value by up to 50%- has some in Congress worried. An estimated $15 billion of such loans are outstanding.

Concerned that some borrowers would wipe out their home equity, only to run up their credit cards again, Sen. Lauch Faircloth, R-N.C., has asked the General Accounting Office to study the trend. He will hold a hearing in May.

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