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
by Zach Carter and Ryan Grim
Despite mounting evidence of big banks committing serious fraud in the foreclosure process, the U.S. Senate eliminated $35 million in legal aid to homeowners trying to keep their homes.
by Steven Gillan
The week of Nov. 15-19 was a big week in Washington D.C. for troubled homeowners, housing counselors and anyone in the mortgage industry who cares about what is happening to real estate in this country — or it should have been.
The Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Service's Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity held hearings that week to get a handle on foreclosure issues.
By Ariana Eunjung Cha
Members of Congress criticized federal regulators for failing to recognize problems with the nation's foreclosure system before they were brought to light by media reports, and they called for an examination into whether these issues present a systemic risk to the financial system.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) during a House subcommittee hearing said that a newly created group of senior financial regulators, known as the Financial Stability Oversight Council, should assess the potential impact on the broader economy.
By Ronald D. Orol
The head of a congressional housing committee on Thursday said the Treasury Department hasn't done enough to push lenders to modify mortgages that are close to default.
By Lorraine Woellert and Clea Benson
U.S. House lawmakers criticized the Obama administration's program to prevent foreclosures as a Treasury Department official testified that the initiative has reduced monthly mortgage payments for almost 520,000 homeowners.
Phyllis Caldwell, chief of the Treasury's Homeownership Preservation Office, told House Financial Services Committee members at a hearing today that the number of borrowers aided by the administration's Home Affordable Modification Program had grown from the 495,898 reported in September.
By William Alden
A top Treasury department official said Thursday that the government has still not imposed any fines on banks that do not comply with the Obama administration's mortgage modification program.
In testimony before a House Financial Services subcommittee, Phyllis Caldwell, chief of Treasury's Homeownership Preservation Office, said her department has pursued "non-monetary remedies" but has not actually imposed any fines on banks for not complying with the administration's flagship $50 billion foreclosure prevention program.