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Governor O'Malley and Secretary Perez Announce Initiative to Protect Homeownership

 

Announces Legislative Package, New Regulations, and 'Bridge to Hope' Loan Program to Help Homeowners

LANDOVER, MD (January 14, 2008) - Governor Martin O'Malley today announced new legislation and emergency regulations and initiatives to help thousands of Maryland homeowners at risk of losing their homes and to prevent future generations of homeowners losing their homes due to foreclosure following the sub-prime mortgage crisis facing our entire nation today.

The Governor was joined by Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Thomas Perez and Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Raymond Skinner, and many local elected officials and community leaders in Prince George's County to roll out a comprehensive package of initiatives and reforms aimed at addressing the drastic rise in foreclosures in Maryland.

"Homeownership is the cornerstone of the American dream and the building block of a stronger and growing middle class," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "But thousands of homeowners in Maryland and across our nation, through no fault of their own, have fallen victim to fraudulent schemes and scams by dishonest lenders and brokers in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis facing our nation. The proposals we are announcing today will help those families at risk of foreclosure, and create greater protections for future homeowners. These initiatives will also serve as a reminder for those in the mortgage industry that we will not stand by while Maryland's middle class families fall victim to irresponsible, deceptive, and predatory lending practices."

"Governor O'Malley and I believe that a government of the people ought to work for them," Lt. Governor Brown said. "Too many Marylanders are being punished through no fault of their own and we intend to protect working families from losing their homes to sub-prime markets and predatory lenders."

Last year, Governor O'Malley created the Homeownership Preservation Task Force to develop recommendations on how to help Maryland homeowners, reform lending practices, lengthen the foreclosure process to make it fairer, and crack down on fraud and unscrupulous practices in the mortgage industry.

Foreclosure rates have risen dramatically across the nation, and Maryland has not escaped the trend. From the 3rd Quarter of 2006 to the 3rd Quarter of 2007, foreclosure events in Maryland increased by 639 percent. The climb is expected to continue this year as many of the adjustable rate mortgages issued in recent years reset to higher interest rates. It is estimated that 33,000 Maryland homeowners are expected to face interest rate resets this year.

The package of initiatives announced today includes the "Bridge to HOPE" Loan Program, which will provide small gap loans at zero percent interest to homeowners facing difficulty, giving them time to get back on their feet or find a solution. The statewide program will be administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development's Community Development Administration (CDA).

"The Bridge to HOPE will literally provide hope to hundreds of Maryland homeowners," said Secretary Raymond A. Skinner. "We want to ensure that homeownership is protected and sustainable in Maryland. Through partnerships with housing counseling agencies throughout the state, we will implement practical solutions to foreclosure challenges."

Governor O'Malley also announced today an emergency regulation that will make Maryland the second state in the country to require loan servicers to file detailed monthly disclosure reports about their loss mitigation and loan modification efforts. The reports will outline the precise nature and extent of the actions being taken to assist homeowners who have defaulted on loans.

"There are thousands of Marylanders on the verge of foreclosure and we need information now to learn what actions servicers are taking to prevent foreclosure," Secretary Perez said. "Data collection and reporting is a critical accountability tool that only one other state, California, has in place."

Governor O'Malley's legislative package and regulatory proposals include:

  • Improve the regulation of mortgage industry professionals and reform lending practices by:
  • Banning pre-payment penalties for sub prime loans;
  • Assuring a borrower's ability to repay a loan and verify sources of income; and
  • Increasing the mortgage licensing requirements, including the surety bond requirement for mortgage lender licensees and institute a minimum net worth requirement.
  • Create a criminal mortgage fraud statute that covers all potential actors engaged in mortgage fraud.
     
  • Modify the Protection for Homeowners in Foreclosure Act (PHIFA), which was passed in 2005, by banning the conveyance of real property in the foreclosure rescue context.
     
  • Reform the foreclosure process by:
  • Requiring a lender to wait 90 days after default before filing the foreclosure action;
  • Sending a uniform Notice of Intent to Foreclose to the homeowner 45 days prior to filing an action; and
  • Requiring personal service to notify a homeowner of impending foreclosure and require that a sale may not occur for 45 days after service.
  • Reform lending practices in Maryland by:
  • Requiring a duty of good faith and fair dealing for mortgage industry professionals;
  • Requiring brokers and lenders to show a reasonable net tangible benefit for borrowers when refinancing;
  • Tracking rates of default and foreclosure of mortgage industry professionals; and
  • Strengthening the experience requirement to obtain a license.
 
Secretary Perez discusses the governorís homeownership preservation initiatives   Governor OíMalley announces his plan to protect Maryland homeowners

Secretary Perez discusses the governorís homeownership preservation initiatives

Governor OíMalley announces his plan to protect Maryland homeowners

 
Secretary Perez discusses the governorís homeownership preservation initiatives   Velma Floyd tells the story of how she and her family fell victim to a foreclosure rescue scam

Secretary Perez discusses the governorís homeownership preservation initiatives

Velma Floyd tells the story of how she and her family fell victim to a foreclosure rescue scam

 
Secretary Perez discusses the governorís homeownership preservation initiatives Maryland homeowners can call DLLR for assistance at 1-888-784-0136

Secretary Perez discusses the governorís homeownership preservation initiatives

Maryland homeowners can call DLLR for assistance at 1-888-784-0136