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Press Release

August 28, 2015

Contact: Matt Anderson, 212-709-1691

GOVERNOR CUOMO DEPLOYS DFS MOBILE COMMAND CENTER TO CONTINUE PROVIDING CONSUMER ASSISTANCE TO HOMEOWNERS AND STUDENT BORROWERS IN THE MOHAWK VALLEY

Department of Financial Services to Visit Johnstown on Tuesday, Sept. 1 and Ilion on Wednesday, Sept. 2 to Offer Assistance to Mohawk Valley Consumers

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he is deploying trained personnel from the Department of Financial Services to Johnstown and Ilion to continue offering foreclosure prevention assistance to financially struggling homeowners in the Mohawk Valley. The deployment will also provide information and guidance to student borrowers facing difficulties in repaying student loans.

Representatives from the Department of Financial Services will be available to meet consumers in the agency’s Mobile Command Center at the following locations:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 1 – Johnstown Public Library, 38 S. Market St., Johnstown
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2 – Ilion Village Hall, 49 Morgan St., Ilion

Personnel will be available at each site from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the specified days.

“We are continuing our commitment to deliver on-the-ground assistance to those who may be struggling financially in the Mohawk Valley,” Governor Cuomo said. “Consumers who are facing foreclosure or difficulties paying off their student loan bills should know that there may be options available to provide them financial relief."

Anthony Albanese, Acting Superintendent of Financial Services, said, "Any homeowner with serious financial challenges is encouraged to take advantage of this program to explore all of the options that may be available to avoid foreclosure. In addition, we will offer advice on such options as debt consolidation and forbearance for those struggling with student debt.”

Senator James L. Seward said, “Losing a home is devastating. This expert assistance from the Department of Financial Services is a lifeline which could save families, seniors, and others on the brink of such hardship. For students with loan concerns, this resource can help head off a lifetime of credit difficulties. I encourage homeowners and students with financial questions or concerns to utilize this trusted resource.”

Senator Hugh T. Farley said, “Many individuals and families are living with the terrible stress of possible foreclosure and are fighting every day to be able to stay in their homes. The fear of losing a home in this way can be one of the most difficult challenges anyone can face. I want to thank the Governor and the dedicated experts at the Department of Financial Services who are reaching out to homeowners and students in this situation, and I would strongly encourage anyone who is facing potential foreclosure to take advantage of the free resources, knowledge and advice being offered by advisors at the mobile command center in Johnstown. In addition, anyone with student debt concerns can greatly benefit from the assistance that will also be available from these informative experts.”

Assemblyman Marc W. Butler said, “It’s important we help each other during difficult times. Programs that help educate and equip homeowners with the skills, knowledge and tools to prevent the foreclosure of their homes is not only good for them, it’s good for the entire economy. Additionally, the same kind of knowledge is important to help college graduates pay off their student loans without defaulting. I applaud programs like this and encourage the public to take part in this service.”

Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney said, “I am pleased to welcome DFS representatives to Ilion. I encourage homeowners struggling with a foreclosure and student loan borrowers struggling with loan debt to take advantage of this opportunity to receive assistance and information from trained professionals. The Mobile Command Center gives homeowners and student loan borrowers the benefit of directly meeting with a representative who can explain all available options."

Ilion Mayor Terry A. Leonard said, “Village officials in Ilion are aware of the difficult situations facing many of our residents concerning mortgage foreclosures. I appreciate the State's efforts to provide professional assistance and information about foreclosure situations and I am grateful for Ilion's opportunity to host this outreach program.”

Johnstown Mayor Michael Julius said, “This is a very good program and I hope everyone who needs to, takes advantage of it, especially students and homeowners who need help to straighten out their finances.”

Vincent J. Bono, Chairman of the Herkimer County Legislature, said, “An initiative like this allows homeowners who may not have the expertise in mortgage finance negotiations a chance to verify or confirm that their financial decisions are solid and trustworthy, and if they're not, where can I turn for help?”

Ralph Ottuso, Chairman of the Board of Fulton County, said, "Information is a powerful resource. Getting the Mobile Command Center outreach to homeowners and student borrowers gives them additional options, and hopefully, helps them help themselves."

State Resources Available to Homeowners

Governor Cuomo launched the Department of Financial Services 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, 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.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development approved housing counselors will also be available to offer assistance to homeowners.

Homeowners unable to meet personally with representatives are urged to the call the Department’s toll-free foreclosure hotline, 1-800-342-3736, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Homeowners may also file complaints using the Department website, www.dfs.ny.gov.

Homeowners are urged 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, 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.

Toll-free Hotline

Consumers unable to meet personally with DFS representatives are urged to the call the Department’s toll-free foreclosure hotline, 1-800-342-3736, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Consumers may also file complaints using the Department website, www.dfs.ny.gov.

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

 

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