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Press Release

October 3, 2012

Contact: Ron Klug, 518-486-6976

CUOMO ADMINISTRATION FORECLOSURE PREVENTION PROGRAM TO HELP HOMEOWNERS IN VESTAL

Foreclosure Prevention Assistance Available to Homeowners at Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 4 at Vestal Public Library in Vestal

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

Foreclosure prevention specialists will be available to meet homeowners from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 4 in the Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center (MCC) which will be located at the Vestal Public Library, 320 Vestal Parkway East in Vestal.
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.”

State Senator Tom Libous said: “Foreclosure prevention helps keep families in their homes and helps them work toward financial stability. I hope struggling homeowners in our community will take advantage of these services and get some relief.”

Broome County Executive Debbie Preston said: “Broome County residents work hard to make ends meet, but sometimes bank accounts dwindle as bills pile up. Foreclosure prevention is a necessary tool to help keep our residents heads above water. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Senator Libous for this important program and encourage Broome County residents to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Laura D. Rhinehart, CEO/President of Metro Interfaith Housing Management Corp., said: “Initiatives like the New York State Foreclosure Prevention Assistance Unit can provide those homeowners who are in distress and in a position to potentially lose their homes to foreclosure a viable and effective alternative to dealing with those servicers or lenders and to assist in possibly saving their homes. Our agency looks forward to working with the state and the Department of Financial Services to reach out to those in need of assistance and provide some measure of support and guidance through the difficult process of obtaining an affordable mortgage modification. We applaud the efforts of New York State Department of Financial Services in working at the local level to assist those consumers most in need.”

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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