WASHINGTON — The American Financial Services Association has sued Philadelphia, charging that the city exceeded its authority in April when it passed an ordinance regulating so-called predatory lending.

The trade group argues that the city lacks authority to legislate in the financial services arena and therefore should not have done so.

“What we’re seeing here is, a law was passed in the City Council of Philadelphia, and that law was passed without appropriate authority in their home rule charter,” Randy Lively, president and chief executive of the trade group, said in an interview. “We have taken the position that Philadelphia overreached its authority, and we are seeking a remedy of that overreaching.”

Though banks, thrifts, and credit unions are exempted, their subprime affiliates or subsidiaries would be subject to the ordinance’s provisions.

A preliminary hearing on the association’s suit for injunctive relief, originally scheduled for Thursday, was postponed. Though no new date was set, Mr. Lively said a hearing would “certainly” occur before July 19, when the ordinance is to take effect.

The ordinance, passed unanimously by the City Council on April 5, failed to win the mayor’s signature. Mayor John Street did not veto the bill, which would have prevented its implementation, but returned it to the council on April 19 without a signature, calling it “seriously flawed.” His action delayed the measure’s effective date by three months.

The ordinance, if upheld, would “start a process of Balkanizing the legislation and regulation of consumer financial services, which would put industry in the uncommon position of having to comply with municipality, state, and federal … requirements,” Mr. Lively said. “It would become such a confused landscape that I doubt seriously that companies could contend with the oversight processes.”

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