HARRISBURG, Pa. - Legislation at the state level may soon put an end to the fight over a strict lending ordinance in Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania State Assembly approved a bill Thursday that would give the state's banking regulators new powers in regulating mortgage companies and apply federal high-cost-loan regulations statewide.

It would preempt a predatory-lending law enacted in Philadelphia that was set to take effect July 31. The local ordinance would add tough restrictions and impose fines on loans that carry rates exceeding certain levels above Treasuries of comparable maturities.

The local law also would require lenders - even banks and credit unions that are exempt from other provisions in the rule - to file disclosures with the city outlining the annual percentage rate and the points charged on each loan.

The provisions approved on Thursday were tacked on to a Senate bill and passed the Assembly 152-41. It goes next to the Senate, which could vote on the measure as soon as Thursday night, and where lobbyists believe it has a high chance of passage.

Gov. Tom Ridge has yet to comment publicly on the bill or the local ordinance it overrides, but the secretary of banking, who is appointed by the governor, is said to favor the bill because it increases his department's enforcement power over predatory lending.

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