FYI: The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced its new "lending accountability" rule yesterday, intended to offer another bulwark against predatory lending in home loans. The new rule makes lenders responsible for appraisals they submit to HUD that do not meet a set of Federal Housing Administration standards rather than leaving the responsibility solely in the hands of the contractors who performed the appraisals. The rule, now up for public comment before taking effect, is the second step in HUD's effort to more closely watchdog the role appraising plays in predatory lending scams. Last summer it established performance standards for appraisers of FHA-insured homes. [1/14/03]