Helping Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure
I have shaped and help pass legislation to protect homeowners. In May 2009, I was proud to attend the signing ceremony at the White House for the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act (S. 896), legislation that will prevent many home foreclosures and strengthen the housing market. In expressing his thanks to those who have played key roles on this issue, President Obama praised Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank and me.
Also in May, the House passed the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act (H.R. 1728), which prevents predatory and irresponsible mortgage loan practices that resulted in the economic meltdown. The legislation requires mortgage lenders to follow basic principles of sound lending, responsibility, and consumer protection.
I have long been concerned about the mortgage servicing industry. Servicers have the power to modify loans; however, while loan modification rates have increased, it is clear that servicers must do more to keep families in their homes. This is why I introduced H.R. 3451, the Foreclosure Prevention and Sound Mortgage Servicing Act, to require loss mitigation and to reform the servicing industry. At the beginning of this Congress, I introduced H.R. 37, the Systematic Foreclosure Prevention and Mortgage Modification Act. This legislation, which provides incentive payments to servicers for modifying loans, passed the House and serves as the foundation for the Administration’s Making Home Affordable program.
I have also interceded directly on behalf on my constituents with their mortgage servicers, often spending hours on hold to get a loan modification for them.
In addition, I have fought against the scammers and so-called “foreclosure consultants” who are charging high fees to desperate homeowners, with the false promise that they can prevent a foreclosure or obtain a loan modification.
Additionally, I have advocated on behalf of homebuyers for a strong Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Legislation I wrote to reform and expand FHA was included in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. In addition, I wrote legislation, included in the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, preventing the very subprime lenders who created the mortgage mess from participating in FHA’s programs.
More on Helping Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure
Congresswoman Waters (CA), Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, today led 11 of her colleagues in the House of Representatives urging U.S. bank regulators to publicly release information regarding the steps that mortgage servicers are taking to prevent illegal foreclosure practices. An identical letter was sent by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (NJ), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development, and nine additional Senators.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) yesterday reintroduced H.R. 1567, the Foreclosure Prevention and Sound Mortgage Servicing Act of 2011. Congresswoman Waters has introduced similar legislation since the 110th Congress, and has long maintained that the servicing industry is broken. By reintroducing and updating the bill, Congresswoman Waters continues to demonstrate her commitment to ending the foreclosure crisis and holding servicers accountable.
by Jon Prior
Mortgage servicers may have to review as much as $535 billion in loans for possible remediation to borrowers who suffered financially from improper foreclosures, according to an estimate from the investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.
Remediation was one of the requirements of the consent orders signed between 14 mortgage servicers and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve after an investigation into foreclosure problems. The regulators found the problem had spread industry wide.
By Alejandro Lazo and E. Scott Reckard
Citing "pervasive" misconduct in foreclosures, federal regulators have ordered the nation's biggest banks to overhaul their procedures and compensate borrowers injured financially by wrongdoing or negligence.
The four major bank regulators said their actions, to be followed by fines, wouldn't interfere with a wider-ranging investigation conducted by a coalition of state attorneys general and other federal agencies, including the departments of Justice, Treasury and Housing and the Federal Trade Commission.
By Dina ElBoghdady
Three federal agencies announced agreements with the nation's largest mortgage servicers Wednesday that aim to stem shoddy foreclosure practices. But the plans do not immediately impose financial penalties on the companies or force them to reduce the mortgage debt for troubled borrowers.
By Lorraine Woellert
The 14 largest U.S. mortgage servicers must pay back homeowners for losses from foreclosures or loans that were mishandled in the wake of the housing collapse, the first of a set of sanctions regulators are seeking against the companies.
The settlement announced today between servicers and banking regulators could help the U.S. Justice Department determine the size and scope of fines for the flawed practices, regulators said.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), a senior member of the Financial Services Committee, released the following statement today:
By Alan Zibel and Jeffrey Sparshott
The U.S. House voted Tuesday to end the Obama administration's main effort to assist troubled homeowners, with Republican lawmakers arguing that the program has failed to ease the foreclosure crisis.
The attempt to shut down the administration's flagship foreclosure-prevention effort, the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, is the last of four Republican attempts to shut down Obama administration efforts to prevent foreclosures or stabilize troubled neighborhoods.
by Meredith Shiner
The House Tuesday voted to eliminate the last of four Obama administration housing programs, in an effectively symbolic vote to end the controversial Home Affordable Modification Program.