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Press Release

April 30, 2012

Contact: David Neustadt 212-709-1691

CUOMO ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM TO STEM FORECLOSURES TO VISIT HOMEOWNERS IN ORANGE AND SULLIVAN COUNTIES

Department of Financial Services Foreclosure Prevention Specialists Available to Meet Homeowners in Middletown and Monticello

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 this week at locations in Orange and Sullivan Counties.

The foreclosure prevention specialists will be available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at these locations:

Thursday, May 3 – 201 Dolson Ave., Middletown, Orange County

Friday, May 4 -- Thompson Town Hall, 4052 Rt. 42 in Monticello, Sullivan 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 John J. Bonacic said: “When a mortgage foreclosure starts, it can sometimes be resolved without forcing the homeowner to leave. Particularly in this economy, a bank does not want to become a landlord and generally wants to do all it reasonably can to reduce the possibility of foreclosure. The service being offered here can arm homeowners at risk of foreclosure and already in foreclosure with information they can utilize to hopefully keep their home. It is free, confidential, and worthwhile for those in need,”

Foreclosure prevention specialists will meet with homeowners to assess where they are in the pre-foreclosure or foreclosure process and provide:

· Information to homeowners about specific loan modification programs which may be available to them;

· Guidance to homeowners on how they can file complaints with the Department so that cases of lender or mortgage servicer abuses, such as predatory lending practices, can be investigated.

The foreclosure prevention specialists will meet with homeowners inside the Department's Mobile Command Center, a 36-foot long vehicle. Homeowners should bring with them any documents relevant to their individual situations, such as records of mortgage payments or letters to them from lenders or mortgage servicers.

Homeowners may also file complaints using the Department website, www.dfs.ny.gov. Also, information may be obtained by calling the Department's toll-free foreclosure hotline, 1-800-269-0990 or 518-457-1654, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Superintendent Lawsky urged homeowners to be wary of mortgage rescue scams, which may be marketed by private businesses.

"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 plans on sending foreclosure prevention specialists to assist homeowners at sites across the state, particularly where there are high concentrations of homeowners in or at risk of foreclosure. The Department’s foreclosure prevention initiative was launched in February and has visited numerous locations as part of its citizen outreach effort.

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