Activists Gather to Call for End to Predatory Lending and to Support the CRA

Press Release for Thursday September 30, 1999

At a rally on Friday in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina community groups will endorse The Money Store as a place borrowers will be treated fairly when seeking a home equity loan in North Carolina. the first and only lender to receive such an endorsement from those groups most active in the fight against predatory lending. These groups include the
Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina (CRA*NC), the NC NAACP, and the NC Fair Housing Center.

The coalition of advocates will also recognize First Union's new community development goals for North Carolina. First Union has committed to lend $1 billion over three years to low income households and small businesses.

"First Union has convinced us it is working in good faith to move the economic mountain for all North Carolinians," states Reverend Allison, Executive Director of the NC NAACP.

After the rally, a dixieland jazz band will lead marchers through the financial district of Charlotte to gather at the Federal Reserve Bank Branch of Charlotte. The rally will call for support of the Community Reinvestment Act and an end to predatory lending. Richmond Federal Reserve Vice President Jack Blanton will receive community leaders petition for
support to strengthen CRA evaluations and federal regulation of home equity lenders.

Money Store Endorsement

Because of First Union's initiative in making The Money Store an industry leader in fair lending practices and its support and compliance with the new North Carolina anti-predatory lending law, its practices in North Carolina won community support.

"As a fair housing activist, I'm concerned about people being treated fairly. I like the fact that by the first of next year, if you walk into either The Money Store or First Union, you receive the same price for the same product." Says Stella Adams, Executive Director, North Carolina Fair Housing Center.

Pricing of loans according to credit risks is standard according to a rational and consistent credit scoring system across the entire bank. This is significantly different then lenders who are pricing loans based on a client by client negotiations.

As of March 1999, The Money Store no longer accepts loans from mortgage brokers, as an added step in insuring quality and fairness in the origination process. The Money Store also no longer finances loans with 125% loan to value ration to prevent consumers from losing equity in their homes.

"While there are still some policy disagreements, a review of borrowers' loan documents and an analysis of lending patterns has convinced us that The Money Store will treat borrowers fairly in North Carolina," says Andrea Harris. Ms. Harris is Chair of the NC NAACP Economic Development Committee and Executive Director of the Institute for Minority and Economic Development.

Community Development Goals

First Union and community groups have worked together to set community lending goals for mortgages, small business loans, community development loans, and small farm loans on a statewide and local basis. These goals build on First Union's current commitment to increase lending to low income and minority households in North Carolina over the next three years.

"First Union is doing the right things to increase its investments in low income communities," says Peter Skillern, Executive Director of CRA*NC. CRA*NC is a bank watchdog agency that has previously challenged other lenders on their subprime and community lending practices.

John Taylor, Executive Director of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition will speak at the Federal Reserve rally recognizes the significance of First Union's goals in North Carolina. "The work of North Carolina community groups and First Union sets a national precedent for others to follow on home equity lending and community reinvestment. I applaud them both for their achievements."

Contact:
Peter Skillern, Executive Director, CRA*NC, 919-856-2170
John Taylor, President, National Community Reinvestment Coalition,
202-626-8866

Stella Adams, Executive Director, North Carolina Fair Housing Center,
919-856-2166
Mary Eshet, First Union Corporate Relations, 704-383-