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Visiting The Home of  The Subprime Mortgage

By CNBC.com Staff

The Senate Banking Committee held hearings on the subprime mess in Washington Thursday and many in Orange County, California might have been listening.

The hearing, chaired by Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, was looking into the rising tide of defaults among subprime borrowers, its impact on the mortgage industry, as well as the broader econonmy, and whether regulators could have done more to avert the crisis.

The last issue is of particular interest in Orange County, known as the home of the subprime mortgage. There's growing concern Washington will impose new regulations on the industry.

CNBC's Diana Olick and Scott Cohn have more on the story.

Subprime Crisis

One in five jobs in Orange County is tied to the mortgage industry. No wonder  then, that unemployment has ticked up half of a percentage point recently. Foreclosures in January were up 22% from a year ago.

Mortgage industry problems are back on the agenda in Washington the week ahead. The House Financiial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions will hold a hearing on the subprime lending mess Tuesday March 27.