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legislature passes bills to reform pace energy-efficiency loan program

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legislature passes bills to reform pace energy-efficiency loan program

two bills that would boost protections for consumers taking out pace home-improvement loans are headed to gov. jerry brown’s desk after passing the legislature.the regulations come amid criticism by consumer advocates that too many borrowers are taking out unaffordable loans for solar panels and other energy-efficiency projects — the kind of upgrades funded by pace — because contractors misrepresent how the financing works.the bills, if signed, would enshrine a number of reforms into law, including a first-time requirement that income be factored into underwriting. the legislation also bars kickbacks and establishes a minimum training requirement for contractors, who typically also act as salespeople.“we want people to benefit from water and energy efficiency, but they shouldn’t have to sacrifice consumer protections,” said assemblyman matt dababneh (d-woodland hills), who authored ab 1284, which includes the income and training requirements.the bill also charges the department of business oversight with regulating pace lenders, something dababneh called critical to the success of the new rules.“we were able to make sure there is some enforcement,” he said. “we have a referee.”major lenders largely supported the package of bills, but consumer groups said there were too many loopholes in dababneh’s bill, which passed early saturday morning.“there remain significant areas of concern,” the california low-income consumer coalition told dababneh in a lett...