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Press Release

March 6, 2012

Contact: Ron Klug 518-486-6976

CUOMO ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM TO STEM FORECLOSURES TO VISIT CROWN HEIGHTS IN BROOKLYN

Department of Financial Services Foreclosure Prevention Specialists Available to Meet Homeowners 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, March 9

Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, today announced that Department of Financial Services mortgage foreclosure prevention specialists will meet with homeowners already in foreclosure and those at risk of foreclosure from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, March 9 in the Department’s Mobile Command Center, which will be located at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Montgomery Street in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

“Governor Cuomo believes that it’s essential that we provide as much help as possible to financially-troubled homeowners. Our 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,” Superintendent Lawsky said.

Senator Eric Adams said: "Crown Heights has one of the highest rates of foreclosure in New York State. Foreclosure prevention assistance services, which help homeowners to develop sustainable solutions to retain their homes, is a most vital resource to our community. While foreclosure adversely affects the individual homeowner, it also negatively impacts upon the community-at-large through property neglect and devaluation. It is important that government agencies and elected officials provide information and assistance to the most vulnerable. Homeowners and future homeowners must to be informed and educated about home ownership, and the ways to maintain their homes and avoid mortgage relief scams.”

Assemblyman Karim Camara said: "In relation to its population, Crown Heights has an alarming number of foreclosure homes. As a resident of Crown Heights, and a member of the Assembly’s committees on Housing and Regulated Mortgage Lenders, I’ve seen the dire consequences of the housing crisis. Direct services that educate homeowners on predatory lending, and loan modification and intervention services are crucial to ending this cycle. I applaud the Governor for focusing this much needed assistance in our community"

Foreclosure prevention specialists will meet with homeowners to assess where they are in the pre-foreclosure or foreclosure process and provide:

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

· Intervention on behalf of homeowners with their lenders or mortgage servicers;

· Guidance to homeowners on how they can file complaints with the Department so that cases of lender or mortgage servicer abuses, such as predatory lending practices, can be investigated.

The foreclosure prevention specialists will meet with homeowners inside the Department’s Mobile Command Center, a 36-foot long vehicle.

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.

Superintendent Lawsky 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,” Superintendent Lawsky said.

“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 plans on 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 last month and has already visited sites on Long Island and in Rockland County as part of its citizen outreach effort.

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