(1) This act shall be known as the “Florida Fair Lending Act.”
(2)(a) The Legislature finds that abusive mortgage lending has become a problem in this state even though most high-cost home loans do not involve abusive mortgage practices. One of the most common forms of abusive lending is the making of loans that are equity-based rather than income-based. The financing of points and fees in these loans provides immediate income to the originator and encourages creditors to repeatedly refinance home loans. As long as there is sufficient equity in the home, an abusive creditor benefits even if the borrower is unable to make the payments and is forced to refinance. The financing of high points and fees causes the loss of equity in each refinancing and often leads to foreclosure.
(b) Abusive lending has threatened the viability of many communities and caused decreases in home ownership. While the marketplace appears to operate effectively for conventional mortgages, too many homeowners find themselves victims of overreaching creditors who provide loans with unnecessarily high costs and terms that are unnecessary to secure repayment of the loan. The Legislature finds that as competition and self-regulation have not eliminated the abusive terms from home-secured loans, the consumer protection provisions of this act are necessary to encourage fair lending.