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Saxon now says: Keep felons out of mortgage business

Borrowers_banner_2 Facing calls for his ouster after allowing thousands of criminals to sell home loans in Florida, the state's embattled chief mortgage regulator proposed changes that would toughen the law to help keep felons out of the industry.

Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Don Saxon issued a 40-page explanation of his agency's performance three days after a Miami Herald investigation revealed that thousands of criminals -- including some found guilty of bank robbery, cocaine trafficking and racketeering -- received licenses.

Saxon proposed licensing all loan originators -- a move his agency has long resisted, according to internal e-mails and interviews with industry leaders.

Last week, in an interview with The Miami Herald, Saxon said he never tried to change the law because he didn't think it would pass. But when asked who would have opposed such legislation, he couldn't think of anyone. ''I don't have any specific names,'' he said.

In his report Tuesday, Saxon also promised an ''audit'' of any licensed mortgage broker who had a criminal record at the time of their approval. More here.