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Press Releases

July 2, 2012
Both houses of the California Legislature today approved the Foreclosure Reduction Act, a bill designed to reduce unnecessary foreclosures in the state. The bill is the centerpiece legislation of Attorney General Kamala Harris' Homeowner Bill of Rights. "This is monumental," said CRL California Director Paul Leonard. "For the past three years, the legislature has said 'no' to making the foreclosure process fairer for consumers. Today, they finally said 'yes.'" AB 278 and SB 900 contain provisions that will end "dual track" in mortgage servicing, requiring that servicers provide loan...
June 27, 2012
Legislation Will Level the Playing Field for Borrowers Across California, and Ensure That All Borrowers Get Full and Fair Consideration for Loan Modifications Six weeks of negotiations between banks, the bipartisan legislative conference committee, the Attorney General and consumer groups have produced a Homeowner Bill of Rights that deserves to pass both floors of the Legislature and be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown as soon as possible. The Homeowner Bill of Rights will prevent unnecessary foreclosures without putting undue burden on banks by implementing the following key provisions...
June 27, 2012
A housing bill introduced in the Senate could more than double the number of homeowners who refinance under a federal mortgage program and also more than double their potential savings, according to an estimate by researchers at Columbia University. To be eligible, homeowners must have a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and be current on the payments. Researchers at The Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate at Columbia Business School estimate that streamlining refinances would increase the total number of homeowners who refinance under the existing Home Affordable Refinance...
June 25, 2012
More than 80 percent of California homeowners who received modifications in 2010 stayed current and avoided re-default despite the continued recession, according to a new Center for Responsible Lending analysis. These new data indicate that the Homeowner Bill of Rights is critical for large numbers of borrowers, their communities and the overall California housing market. The legislation, which has undergone six weeks of intense negotiation with banks, legislators, the Attorney General and consumer groups, would ensure that borrowers in owner-occupied homes applying for loan modifications...
June 21, 2012
The remedies are deeply inadequate in fundamental ways. The money will too often be too little too late, particularly for borrowers who were wrongfully denied loan modifications. The federal bank regulators continue to withhold too many details from the public, when transparency would be to everyone's benefit. Further, the Sept. 31st deadline to apply for compensation for borrowers who believe they were wronged is too soon. It should be extended through year's end, especially since a large mailing was just sent out saying the deadline is July 31. The regulators did get one thing right:...
May 31, 2012
Californians need Attorney General Harris' Homeowner Bill of Rights to fix mortgage lending abuses and speed economic recovery. But lobbyists fighting it in Sacramento have now enlisted mortgage bankers from around the country to help them defeat it. (Read the e-mail sent by the Mortgage Action Alliance, the Mortgage Bankers Association's national e-advocacy division.) The MBA urged members nationwide to "Stop the Damaging Unintended Consequences of Sweeping California Legislation," and oppose common-sense protections of the Homeowner Bill of Rights, a legislative package modeled on the...
May 15, 2012
California's dire budget situation claimed a new casualty in the governor's May Revise yesterday: $410 million in bank penalty funds from the National Mortgage Settlement intended to assist California homeowners.The governor instead proposed to use the funds to reduce the state's deficit rather than to help borrowers access settlement programs. Attorney General Kamala Harris worked for well over a year to reach an acceptable settlement with banks who had harmed California homeowners with robo-signing and other mortgage servicing abuses. The $410 million in penalties paid by five big banks...
February 9, 2012
"The foreclosure settlement announced today will help build a stronger housing market while keeping more people in their homes. But while a significant step toward fixing the foreclosure crisis, this settlement was never intended or able to provide a comprehensive remedy. Much more work is required. Despite its limitations, the settlement requires real reforms in the mortgage servicing industry to stop sloppy business practices and out-and-out fraud. It also will help stabilize housing markets and property values by giving more homeowners a chance to restructure or refinance out of...
January 24, 2012
Washington, D.C. --- Based on what we've heard, the settlement between major banks and states' Attorneys General (AGs), the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Justice would represent an important step forward in addressing foreclosure abuses. The settlement would include key reforms to clean up unfair mortgage servicing practices. It would also provide an important template for ways banks can use principal reduction to reduce unnecessary foreclosures and put the country back on a path to economic recovery. Not all details are available yet, and we...
January 18, 2012
As federal regulators consider setting down-payment standards on new mortgages, a new study shows such rules could push 60 percent of creditworthy borrowers into high-cost loans or out of the market altogether. A proposal by regulators to define a high-quality mortgage as one with at least a 20 percent down payment, or possibly 10 percent, would hobble a healthy segment of the housing market. While higher down payments do result in fewer defaults, the payoff is small relative to the number of creditworthy households who could be shut out of the market, the study shows. For the full study,...

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