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Press Release

June 1, 2012

Contact: Ron Klug, 518-486-6976

CUOMO ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM TO STEM FORECLOSURES TO HELP HOMEOWNERS IN BUFFALO

Department of Financial Services Foreclosure Prevention Specialists Available to Meet Homeowners at Belmont Housing Resources, 1195 Main St., Buffalo, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, June 4

Media Availability at 10:45 a.m.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, today announced that Department of Financial Services mortgage foreclosure prevention specialists will be available to offer help to Buffalo area homeowners who are already in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, June 4 in Buffalo.

The Department’s foreclosure prevention specialists will be available to meet with homeowners in the agency’s Mobile Command Center, which will be located at the offices of Belmont Housing Resources for WNY, 1195 Main St. in Buffalo.

Governor Cuomo said "It is essential that we provide as much help as possible to financially-troubled homeowners. The 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."

Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo created the Foreclosure Relief Unit within the Real Estate Finance Unit of DFS.

Senator Mark Grisanti said: "Too many New Yorkers have lost their homes as a result of the recession and far too many are still at risk of foreclosure. It's important for homeowners to seek help as quickly as possible when they are in financial trouble. I appreciate the Department's efforts to bring help to struggling homeowners in the Buffalo area."

Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said: "It is unfortunate that the housing foreclosure crisis has heavily impacted major cities across the country. In the Buffalo area, we have seen our housing stock decline in recent years, and many homeowners are now facing foreclosure. No one wants to see someone lose their home, especially when there's hope. I am glad that residents can get some assistance in whatever phase they are in. I am calling all homeowners who are in need of assistance or have questions to attend this event, get answers and get the right help today."

Sandra Becker, Senior Housing Programs Manager, Belmont Housing Resources for WNY, said: “Agencies like Belmont Housing Resources, which provide foreclosure prevention assistance, appreciate the state’s efforts in keeping the spotlight on the foreclosure crisis and the availability of services for homeowners who need help. It is imperative to reach New Yorkers still in need.”

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

·Guidance on how homeowners 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.

DFS 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.

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 is 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 more than a dozen sites in the state as part of its outreach effort.