Georgia's new governor is taking aim at predatory mortgage lending practices as part of an unorthodox consumer-protection agenda.
Gov. Roy Barnes is asking lawmakers for $132,000 to launch a special crackdown against what his Office of Consumers Affairs calls "home equity theft."
State officials say poorly regulated finance companies are preying on debt-strapped homeowners by making debt consolidation loans at annual interest rates of 40 percent or more. When the borrower predictably can't make the payments, the loan is "flipped" to another lender to stretch out the schedule, generating another set of service charges.
Barnes has an up-close appreciation of …