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Press Release

October 15, 2012

Contact: Ron Klug, 518-486-6976

CUOMO ADMINISTRATION FORECLOSURE PREVENTION PROGRAM TO HELP HOMEOWNERS IN SOUTH BUFFALO

Foreclosure Prevention Assistance Available to Homeowners at Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 18 at Cazenovia Resource Center in South Buffalo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Department of Financial Services is reaching out to help South Buffalo area 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. 18 in the Department of Financial Services’ Mobile Command Center (MCC) which will be located at the Cazenovia Resource Center, 155 Cazenovia Street, between Abbott Road and Seneca Street.

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.”

Assemblymember Michael P. Kearns said: "Not since the Great Depression ravaged families, housing values and homeowners a century ago have families struggled as they are today. Whether it be pushing important legislation or reaching out to those in need, I am proud to partner with Governor Cuomo in bringing relief to those hardest hit."

Lauren Breen, of the Western New York Law Center, said: “On a per county basis, Erie County has consistently had the sixth highest number of foreclosures in New York State in recent years. The five highest counties are all located in the New York City area, and have comparatively far higher populations. It's great that Governor Cuomo's DFS van is getting the word out that free foreclosure prevention is available to homeowners through housing counselors and legal services attorneys.”

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.