The House has passed a bill intended to protect mortgage borrowers by imposing stricter regulations on lenders. But it's unlikely it will become law before the new year, given the Senate's problem passing a less controversial bill that also aims to mitigate the subprime lending crisis. The House measure bars lenders from steering people into expensive loans they might not be able to pay.
The bill would also create a national registry for organizations and individuals who issue home loans and prevent businesses facing legal trouble in one state from simply re-opening in another. In addition, investment companies holding mortgage securities would be held liable if they fail to determine that loans they acquire are legal. The Senate bill would reform the Federal Housing Administration, which insures some mortgages against default.