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Press Release
Banking Department Announces Request for Proposal for $1.5 Million in Foreclosure Prevention Counseling Services Grants

February 13, 2008

New York, N.Y.: The New York State Banking Department announced today a Request for Proposals (RFP) for $1.5 million available for the provision of foreclosure prevention counseling, advocacy and legal services throughout New York State.

The monies are part of a $2 million fund created by the Governor’s office to provide financial support for counseling groups and legal aid societies assisting homeowners facing delinquency or foreclosure.

“Providing these services to individual homeowners is a critical part of addressing the foreclosure crisis,” said Governor Eliot Spitzer.  “Foreclosures not only rock homeowners, but entire communities and the state at large. The availability of trained mortgage counselors is an important element in supporting and educating New Yorkers.”

“The grants for nonprofit counseling services already committed are substantial,” said Banking Department Superintendent Richard Neiman. “However, much more support is needed and the Banking Department is now able and ready to increase the state’s level of financial assistance to community groups.”

With tens of thousands of New York homes at risk of foreclosure, borrowers are in even greater need of housing counseling and support. Yet, the foreclosure crisis has strained the already limited capacity of foreclosure prevention services. Over the past six months, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of calls received by non-profit agencies and the sustained ability of these agencies to respond to this increasing demand for services is a critical issue.

The funding, which is from settlement funds from prior enforcement actions by the Banking Department, will help ensure that non-profit community and advocacy groups have the staff, tools and training needed to deal with the higher case loads on an ongoing basis.

Earlier this year, the Governor awarded more than half a million dollars in additional grants from the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) and the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) to nonprofit counseling services.

The Banking Department encourages proposals to target communities or groups facing foreclosures, including those that focus on low-to-moderate income communities and constituents. Proposals should support the goals of preserving home ownership, engaging in loss mitigation, and other foreclosure prevention services and stabilizing communities that face a high rate of foreclosure.

The RFP can be found on the Department's Web site at www.banking.state.ny.us. Copies are also available from the Department's Finance Office in Albany; e-mail bid@banking.state.ny.us. Contractors may also call (518) 474-2365 to request a copy of the proposal be e-mailed to them.

Responses to the RFP are due by March 26, 2008. An additional RFP for the remaining $500,000, dedicated to training counselors, will be issued shortly.

The New York State Banking Department is the regulator for all state-chartered banking institutions, virtually all of the United States offices of international banking institutions, all of the State’s mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, check cashers, money transmitters and budget planners. The aggregate assets of the depository institutions supervised by the Banking Department are more than $1.8 trillion.

In addition to regulating banking institutions, the Banking Department is active in informing and educating all New Yorkers on banking matters. To contact the Banking Department, please call 1-877-BANK-NYS or visit our Web site at www.banking.state.ny.us.

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