National consumer credit laws designed to protect people from predatory lenders are a step closer to reality, with the legislation passing the lower house on Thursday.

The Rudd government says the national regime will make it less likely that families who can’t meet their debts will lose their homes.

The laws will replace the present state-based system of consumer credit protection, which currently operates inconsistently across the eight jurisdictions.

A national licensing system for everyone involved in consumer credit will be run by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

Labor MP Chris Hayes says the reforms are long overdue and will cut red-tape as well as ensuring consistency.

“It will sort out the fringe players (providing consumer credit),” he told parliament.

“The fact is there are predatory players out there and their business is simply to provide credit … to people with little or no capacity to repay.”

The opposition supports the National Consumer Credit Protection Bill 2009 and associated legislation.