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Press Release

February 21, 2012

Contact: Ron Klug 212-709-1691

DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICES PROGRAM TO STEM MORTGAGE FORECLOSURES TO VISIT SPRING VALLEY IN ROCKLAND COUNTY

Department Staff to Assist Homeowners 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 22 at Spring Valley Village Hall

Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, today announced that Department of Financial Services mortgage foreclosure prevention specialists will meet with homeowners already in foreclosure and those at risk of foreclosure from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 22 at Spring Valley Village Hall, 200 N. Main Street in Spring Valley, Rockland County.

“Governor Cuomo believes that it’s essential that we provide as much help as possible to financially-troubled homeowners. Our objective is to provide direct help to homeowners and get the word out to others that it’s important to ask for help as quickly as possible. The longer a homeowner waits, the harder it may be to save a home,” Superintendent Lawsky said.

Senator David Carlucci said: “It is imperative that we do everything in our ability to assist financially-strapped homeowners who have suffered the aftershocks of the foreclosure crisis. I would like to thank the New York State Department of Financial Services for coming here to Spring Valley, as well as assisting Rockland homeowners who will surely benefit from the critical services that they provide.”

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee said: “When a family loses their home to foreclosure, they are not the only victims – local homeowners see a decline in their property values, as well as the appearance of their neighborhoods. If fact, the only thing that stands to go up as a result of foreclosure in a community is the crime rate. That’s why I’m so encouraged the State Department of Financial Services is coming to the aid of our community and providing the vital counseling needed to help stem the tide of foreclosures in Rockland."

Foreclosure prevention specialists who will staff the Department’s Mobile Command Center will assess where homeowners are in the pre-foreclosure or foreclosure process, provide information about loan modifications programs and work with homeowners’ lenders.

Homeowners who believe they were victimized by lender or mortgage servicer abuses, such as being sold dangerous or predatory loans, will also be able to file complaints. All complaints will be investigated by the Department.

Homeowners unable to visit the Mobile Command Center are urged to call the Department’s foreclosure hotline, 1-800-269-0990 or 518-457-1654, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. In addition, homeowners can file complaints on the Department website, www.dfs.ny.gov.

Superintendent Lawsky urged homeowners to be wary of mortgage rescue scams.

“Beware of anyone who asks for an upfront fee in exchange for getting you a loan modification, saving your home from default or stopping a foreclosure or tax sale. New York law prohibits the collection of such fees in most cases. Also, many not-for-profit housing counselors will help you negotiate with your lender for free,” Superintendent Lawsky said.

“Beware of anyone who says they can save your home if you sign or transfer the deed to your house over to them so you can catch up on your mortgage payments or refinance your loan. Never submit your mortgage payments to anyone other than your mortgage company without its approval.”

The Department’s foreclosure prevention initiative was launched earlier this month in Suffolk County where foreclosure prevention specialists met with homeowners over a two-day period.

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