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Press Release

November 20, 2013

Contact: Matt Anderson, 212-709-1691

GOVERNOR CUOMO DEPLOYING MOBILE COMMAND CENTER TO CENTRAL NEW YORK TO PROVIDE FORECLOSURE PREVENTION HELP TO HOMEOWNERS

Department of Financial Services' Assistance Available for Homeowners during Mobile Command Center Visits to Syracuse on Thursday and Liverpool on Friday

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he is deploying the Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) Mobile Command Center (MCC) to Central New York to help provide foreclosure prevention assistance to struggling homeowners.

Department representatives will be available to meet homeowners in the MCC at two locations:
· Thursday, Nov. 21 -- Onondaga County Library - Mundy Branch, 1204 South Geddes St., Syracuse
· Friday, Nov. 22 -- Salina Town Hall, 201 School Road, Liverpool

DFS personnel will be available each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“My administration is continuing to help struggling homeowners across the state find ways to avoid foreclosure," said Governor Cuomo. "Through our foreclosure prevention initiative, we are deploying skilled specialists directly to Central New York so that families who are facing financial hardships can learn about the options that are available to help them save their homes."

Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, said, “We want to continue to get the word out to struggling homeowners that there are steps they can take to avoid foreclosure. DFS professionals will be on the ground to offer practical advice and guidance for New Yorkers trying to keep their homes.”

Senator David J. Valesky said, "This is a great opportunity for homeowners in Central New York to ask questions and get assistance to keep them in their homes. I am pleased that Governor Cuomo and Superintendent Lawsky have deployed the Mobile Command Center to CNY, and I urge anyone with a problem, big or small, to take advantage and speak to DFS professionals."

The DFS foreclosure prevention program has been used to extend help homeowners facing foreclosure since Governor Cuomo launched the program last year. The outreach program has visited locations throughout the state with high foreclosure rates. Governor Cuomo will also deploy the DFS Mobile Command Center to additional locations in the coming days and weeks to help continue reaching struggling homeowners. Specific locations and dates will be announced shortly.

State Resources Available to Homeowners

The state’s foreclosure prevention program enables homeowners to have confidential meetings with DFS representatives who assess where homeowners are in the pre-foreclosure or foreclosure process.

Depending on individuals’ specific situations, the specialists 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 (HUD) approved housing counselors will also be available to offer assistance to homeowners.

Homeowners 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. Homeowners may also file complaints using the Department website, www.dfs.ny.gov.

DFS also urged 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.

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