Skip to Content

Press Release

August 19, 2015

Contact: Matt Anderson, 212-709-1691

GOVERNOR CUOMO DEPLOYING DFS TO OFFER CONSUMER ASSISTANCE TO HOMEOWNERS AND STUDENT LOAN BORROWERS IN THE MOHAWK VALLEY

DFS Staff Will Visit Sites in Rome, Utica, Gloversville and Amsterdam Thursday, Aug. 20 Through Saturday, Aug. 22

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he is deploying Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center to four Mohawk Valley locations to offer advice and assistance to New York consumers, as part of his “Capital for a Day” initiative to bring state government to the Mohawk Valley. The deployment is focused on assistance related to two specific issues: homeowners at risk of foreclosure and borrowers facing difficulties with student loans.

DFS representatives will be available to meet consumers in the agency’s Mobile Command Center (MCC) at the following locations:

  • Thursday, Aug. 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Jervis Public Library, 613 N. Washington St., Rome.
  • Friday, Aug. 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Utica Public Library, 303 Genesee St., Utica.
  • Saturday, Aug. 22 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Gloversville Public Library lot, 58 E. Fulton St., Gloversville.
  • Saturday, Aug. 22 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Amsterdam Free Library lot, 28 Church St., Amsterdam.

Individuals unable to meet personally with DFS representatives may call the Department’s consumer help hotline at 1-800-342-3736, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Consumers may also use the Department’s website, www.dfs.ny.gov, to find additional information or file complaints.

“We want to assure New Yorkers struggling with mortgages or student loans that help is available,” Governor Cuomo said. “Trained professionals from the Department of Financial Services will be providing on-the-ground assistance to help those in need get back on track and I encourage anyone in the area experiencing financial difficulties to stop by and see what solutions are available.”

Anthony Albanese, Acting Superintendent of Financial Services, said: “Homeowners and student borrowers will be able to meet one-on-one with trained DFS staff who understand the range of options which may be available to save a home from foreclosure or prevent default on a student loan.”

Senator Joseph Griffo said: “When faced with possible foreclosure on a home or mounting school debt that seems inescapable, I understand how overwhelming it can be for a homeowner or student borrower to identify what steps can to be taken to ease their worries. At such moments of concern, these individuals are looking for someone to offer them the guidance that may help lift them out of their financial troubles, and this mobile command center can play a big role in ensuring that more people stay in their homes and avoid defaulting on their loans.”

Senator Hugh T. Farley said: “Many individuals and families are fighting every day to keep their homes in the face of foreclosure. The fear of losing a home in this way can be one of the most difficult challenges anyone can face. In addition, the average cost of a college degree is the highest it’s ever been and student loans are currently the fastest growing category of consumer debt. That’s why it’s important for students and their parents to carefully plan how much they’re borrowing and to do it in the smartest way possible. I would strongly encourage anyone who is facing these kinds of financial hardships to take advantage of the free resources, knowledge and advice of the experts from the Department of Financial Services. These advisors are dedicated to helping homeowners stay in their homes and to helping college students and their families come up with solutions to ease the burden of student debt.”

Senator George Amedore said: "Far too many families who are struggling financially don't know what options are available to them. I encourage residents who are facing foreclosure or are finding it difficult to keep up with their student loans to take advantage of this convenient and free educational service to see what resources are available to help get them get back on their feet."

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi said: “I frequently hear from constituents who are saddled with paying off high-interest student loans. This program will provide helpful assistance for people who have a variety of concerns about borrowing for education. There are also hundreds of properties in the Mohawk Valley in some stage of foreclosure. This program from the DFS provides an excellent opportunity for homeowners to take steps to stay in their homes. This pro-active approach to the foreclosure problem should help to cut down on the number of abandoned homes in the Mohawk Valley.”

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara said: “It’s critical for our local families to have access to important consumer protection information. Deploying New York’s financial experts directly into our neighborhoods ensures that important information about home foreclosures and student loans are available and accessible to our communities.”

Resources Available to Homeowners

Governor Cuomo launched the DFS foreclosure prevention program to extend help to homeowners facing foreclosure. The outreach program has visited locations throughout the State with high rates of foreclosure to provide assistance at no cost to the homeowners. Depending on individuals’ specific situations, DFS representatives may offer homeowners assistance in such areas as:

  • Applying for mortgage modifications or providing help to homeowners who have already sought mortgage modifications.
  • Interceding on behalf of homeowners with their mortgage lenders or servicers.
  • Assisting homeowners in communicating with mortgage lenders or servicers.
  • Accepting complaints from homeowners who believe they were victimized by mortgage lending abuses, so complaints can be investigated by the Department.

DFS also urges homeowners to be cautious of mortgage rescue scams, which may be marketed by private businesses. For example, homeowners should:

Be wary of anyone asking for an upfront fee in exchange for getting a loan modification, saving a 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 homeowners negotiate with lenders for free.
· Be wary of anyone who says they can save a home if a homeowner signs or transfers the deed to his or her house over to them so the homeowner can catch up on mortgage payments or refinance a loan. A homeowner should never submit mortgage payments to anyone other than the homeowner’s mortgage company without its approval.

Resources for Student Loan Borrowers

Depending on individuals’ specific situations, DFS representatives may offer student loan borrowers information and assistance in such areas as:

  • Consolidation and rehabilitation of federal student loans.
  • Deferment and forbearance of federal student loans.
  • Information on the various income based payment arrangements available to federal student loan borrowers.
  • Possible consequences of defaulting on federal student loans.
  • Student loan borrowers’ rights when being contacted by a student loan collection agency.
  • Financing a college education including: grants, scholarships, work study, federal student loans, and private student loans.

DFS counsels consumers to be aware of companies that charge a fee to consolidate federal student loans, apply for income based payment plans, or student loan forgiveness. These programs are available free of charge through the U.S. Department of Education.

Governor Cuomo established the Student Protection Unit within DFS to serve as a consumer watchdog for New York’s students as part of his 2014-15 Executive Budget. The Unit is dedicated to investigating potential consumer protection violations and distributing clear information that students can use to help them make smart, long-term financial choices.

###

Additional news available at www.governor.ny.gov
New York State | Executive Chamber |press.office@exec.ny.gov | 518.474.8418

 

Link to DFS Portal

About DFS

Contact DFS

Reports & Publications

Licensing

Laws and Regs

Connect With DFS

DFS Facebook page

Follow NYDFS on Twitter