WASHINGTON - Senate Banking Committee Chairman Paul Sarbanes has invited 18 witnesses to two days of hearings this week on how predatory lending practices affect homeowners and what can be done to curb such abuses.

Scheduled to testify on Thursday are four borrowers from different parts of the country who say they were scammed by brokers or lenders.

On Friday, the panel will hear from industry officials and consumer advocates, including John A. Courson, the vice president of the Mortgage Bankers Association; George Wallace, a counsel at the American Financial Services Association; Neill Fendly, the immediate past president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers; David Berenbaum, senior vice president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition; Mike Shea, the executive director of Acorn Housing Corp.; and Judy Kennedy, the president of the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders.

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