May 11, 2012
Contact: David Neustadt 212-709-1691 or Ron Klug, 518-486-6976
CUOMO ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM TO STEM FORECLOSURES TO VISIT HOMEOWNERS IN SYRACUSE
Department of Financial Services Foreclosure Prevention Specialists Available to Meet Homeowners in Clinton Square 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, May 14
Press Availability at 11:30 a.m
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 next week in Syracuse.
The foreclosure prevention specialists will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, May 14 at Clinton Square near Water Street in Syracuse. Superintendent Lawsky and Mayor Stephanie A. Miner will be available to discuss the effort with the press at 11:30 a.m. at the same location.
Superintendent Lawsky said: "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."
Senator John A. DeFrancisco said: "Homeowners that are struggling to make ends meet should be aware of all of the options that are available to them to solve their financial crisis. The prevention specialists, hopefully, will help to guide homeowners in a direction that will prevent them from losing their homes."
Senator David J. Valesky said: “There is help available for homeowners who may be in danger of losing their homes, and I encourage anyone who may find themselves in this situation to take advantage of this opportunity to meet with professionals who can assist. I commend Governor Cuomo and Superintendent Lawsky for recognizing the need for this face-to-face service in Central New York.
Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli said, “This free service provided by New York State will help homeowners understand the options and resources available to them if they are facing foreclosure or having difficulty making their mortgage payments.”
Mayor Stephanie A. Miner said: “Foreclosures and property abandonments blight our neighborhoods and decrease surrounding property values. Syracuse was fortunate not to experience the brunt of the national foreclosure crisis, however, we must be proactive in educating and providing opportunities for homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure. I thank Governor Cuomo for bringing this preventative program to Syracuse.”
Rickey Brown, HomeOwnership Center Manager, of Home HeadQuarters Inc., a not-for-profit agency and chartered NeighborWorks America organization that provides foreclosure prevention programs, said: “While not at the extreme levels we see in some other areas, foreclosure is still a very real and consistent problem for many Central New York families due to job loss and unexpected medical challenges. Home HeadQuarters is excited to be a part of this very unique foreclosure outreach effort on the part of New York State’s Department of Financial Services.”
The Department’s foreclosure prevention specialists will meet with homeowners to assess where they are in the pre-foreclosure or foreclosure process.
They will offer:
· 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.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved housing counselors will also be available.
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.