Pennsylvania governor Edward Rendell on Monday signed two bills aimed at reducing mortgage fraud and enforcing a greater degree of transparency at the stage of origination. "These bills will provide increased protection for Pennsylvania consumers shopping for a mortgage or refinancing their homes," the governor said in a statement Monday. "They represent a critical step forward in our strategy to combat mortgage lending fraud and abuse in Pennsylvania." The governor signed State Senate Bill 170, which prohibits a mortgage broker or originator from being the sole recipient of communications from lenders. The governor's office said the law will ensure customers receive monthly statements and other sensitive information about their mortgages. The second law signed Monday -- House Bill 985 -- provides a safe harbor for mortgage company employees that report illegal activity or participate in an investigation. The law prohibits retaliations like reduced salaries or termination by the employer against such employees. Together the acts should encourage a more honest, transparent mortgage lending environment. "Securing a home mortgage is the largest, most significant financial responsibility most people will ever take on," Rendell said. "With the enactment of these bills, we continue our efforts to help more Pennsylvanians secure their part of the American dream." Write to Diana Golobay.