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Press Release

July 24, 2012

Contact: Ron Klug: 518-486-6976

CUOMO ADMINISTRATION FORECLOSURE PREVENTION PROGRAM TO HELP WHITE PLAINS AREA HOMEOWNERS

Foreclosure Prevention Assistance Available to Homeowners at Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center Across from Westchester County Courthouse 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 3

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Department of Financial Services is reaching out to help White Plains area homeowners struggling to save their homes from foreclosure.

Foreclosure prevention specialists will be available to meet homeowners from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 3 in the Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center (MCC) which will be located across the street from the Westchester County Courthouse, 111 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., White Plains.

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."

Governor Cuomo directed the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to launch the foreclosure prevention program in January as a means of extending help to homeowners in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure. Since then, the program has visited more than a dozen sites with high foreclosure rates throughout the state.

Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, said: “It’s important that homeowners who start to see financial problems know that there are more options available to them if they act sooner, rather than later. The foreclosure prevention program allows homeowners to meet one-on-one with foreclosure prevention specialists who are knowledgeable and can offer practical guidance.”

Senator Suzi Oppenheimer said: “I am grateful to Governor Cuomo and DFS for bringing the mobile Foreclosure Relief Unit to White Plains. In these tough economic times, many Westchester homeowners are struggling to hold onto their homes, but don't know where to turn for help. The state has resources to assist homeowners in renegotiating their mortgages and dealing with lenders to help avoid foreclosure. Our communities benefit when hardworking individuals and families are able weather their financial troubles and stay in their homes."

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins said “Homeowners who are in danger of losing their homes will be able to consult with specialists who can help them explore viable options to prevent foreclosure. Many financially troubled homeowners may not realize that help is available, and others may be too embarrassed to come forward. But the sooner they act, the more options they have. By traveling the state and coming to areas like White Plains, the Department of Financial Services is making it easier for those facing foreclosure to get the assistance they need from qualified professionals."

Mayor Thomas M. Roach said “I thank and commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership in creating the foreclosure prevention program and for bringing the Department of Financial Services' Mobile Command Center to White Plains. This is a perfect example of how government can assist those in need and how the state can work with local municipalities in serving as many people as possible. In these difficult economic times it is important for anyone who thinks that they might be in danger of foreclosure to seek help and to evaluate all options in hope of saving their home. Keeping people in their homes benefits both the homeowners and the community at large.”

State Resources Available to Homeowners

The state’s foreclosure prevention program enables homeowners to have confidential meetings with DFS foreclosure specialists 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 foreclosure prevention specialists are urged to the call 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. Homeowners may also file complaints using the Department website, www.dfs.ny.gov.

The Department urged homeowners to be wary of mortgage rescue scams, which may be marketed by private businesses. For example, the Department said 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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