Isak­son speaks out on mort­gage

U.S. Sen­a­tor says bank­ing in­dus­try should re­form

The Covington News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Shan­non McCaf­frey

AL­PHARETTA, Ga. — U.S. Sen. Johnny Isak­son warned busi­ness lead­ers on Thurs­day that un­less the mort­gage and bank­ing in­dus­try tight­ens lend­ing prac­tices Congress is likely to do it for them.

The Ge­or­gia Repub­li­can told the North Ful­ton Cham­ber of Com­merce that he be­lieves “a few bad ac­tors” are to blame for the na­tion’s subprime mort­gage woes, but that the Demo­cratic-led Congress is poised to step in un­less the in­dus­try vol­un­teers more trans­parency.

“ Gov­ern­ment’s re­spon­si­bil­ity is to reg­u­late when an in­dus­try fails to reg­u­late it­self,” Isak­son, of Ma­ri­etta, said.

“It would be a shame be­cause of a few bad ac­tors to over­reg­u­late an en­tire in­dus­try that is oth­er­wise do­ing well.”

Isak­son said that al­ready a pair of Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial con­tenders — Sens. Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton of New York and Christo­pher Dodd of Con­necti­cut — have floated pro­pos­als aimed at rein­ing in the in­dus­try.

He called Clin­ton’s plan to pro­vide a pool of funds to help at-risk home­own­ers dodge fore­clo­sures “the worst thing you could do.”

The only way for the in­dus­try to avoid gov­ern­ment med­dling is to be proac­tive, Isak­son said.

“They have to say ‘we need trans­parency, here are the stan­dards we are go­ing to im­pose,’” said Isak­son, who made his for­tune in a fam­ily-owned real es­tate busi­ness.

The U.S. econ­omy has been reel­ing from subprime mort­gages, loans given to peo­ple with im­per­fect credit or low in­comes. Weak home prices and ris­ing in­ter­est rates have made it in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult for bor­row­ers to keep up with their pay­ments; delin­quen­cies and fore­clo­sures are sharply ris­ing.

Isak­son de­clined to com­ment Thurs­day on the men’s room sex scan­dal that has en­gulfed fel­low Se­nate Repub­li­can Larry Craig, of Idaho. Isak­son is one of the six U.S. sen­a­tors on the Se­lect Com­mit­tee on Ethics that will hear a com­plaint filed against Craig.

As a good ju­rist, I have to hear all the facts and it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate for me to make a com­ment with­out hear­ing all the facts,” Isak­son said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.