Oregon’s Merkley gets populist points on mortgage amendment

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., is trumpeting the success of an amendment he co-sponsored with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., to crack down on several mortgage writing practices that contributed to the financial meltdown in 2008.

The amendment, adopted Wednesday by the Senate on a 63-36 vote, includes a ban on so-called “liars’ loans” – where consumers are not required to show they can repay a home loan – and prohibits payments to brokers for steering homebuyers into higher cost loans.

I’ll let the financial experts debate the wisdom of this approach, but I was struck by the nice political win for Merkley.  He’s been fighting against what he calls predatory lending practices since he was in the state Legislature, where he played a big role in pushing a bill that shut down many of the payday lenders in Oregon.