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Press Release

June 08, 2012

Contact: David Neustadt: 212-709-1691

CUOMO ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM TO STEM FORECLOSURES TO HELP HOMEOWNERS IN POUGHKEEPSIE

Department of Financial Services Foreclosure Prevention Specialists Available to Meet Homeowners in Department’s Mobile Command Center at Crannell Street Municipal Lot, 12 North Hamilton St., Poughkeepsie 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, June 15

Media Availability at 11 a.m. with Superintendent Lawsky, Senator Saland, County Executive Molinaro and Mayor Tkazyik

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 Dutchess County area homeowners who are already in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, June 15 in the Department’s Mobile Command Center which will be located at the Crannell Street Municipal Parking Lot in Poughkeepsie.

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 Steve Saland said “All too often, when homeowners find themselves in financial trouble they do not know where to turn. Having this service come to Dutchess County will let individuals know there are alternatives to foreclosure and that there is help available. I am pleased to work with Governor Cuomo and the Department of Financial Services in bringing this service to my constituents.”

Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro said “This Mobile Command Center is a valuable resource that can provide much-needed assistance to local families, providing the information they need to get through a difficult time. Thank you Governor Cuomo for putting this important initiative in motion and Senator Steve Saland for bringing this resource to Dutchess County.”

Mayor John C. Tkazyik said "During these difficult economic times, people are experiencing decreasing sources of income while their expenses are rising or remaining the same. This program will enable many residents in dire need of counseling and a place to turn to for advice to ensure that they have every opportunity to be properly helped with this increasingly problematic situation."

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.