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Bureau of Financial Institutions
OTHER PFR AGENCIES
Mortgage Servicing Settlement
The Bureau of Financial Institutions participated in an historic mortgage servicing settlement in response to problems discovered in the residential mortgage servicing industry. The $25 billion settlement is between state regulatory agencies and the District of Columbia, 49 state attorneys general, a number of federal agencies, and the five largest mortgage servicing companies – Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., and Ally Financial Inc. To read more about the settlement and how it may provide relief for borrowers, go to:http://www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com/
If you are having trouble making your mortgage payments or have already fallen behind and are in default or foreclosure, you may feel scared and overwhelmed. At this critical time it is very important that you act quickly.
In 2009, the Maine Legislature passed “An Act to Preserve Home Ownership and Stabilize the Economy by Preventing Unnecessary Foreclosures.” The new law provides for mediation of foreclosure of residential mortgages commencing January 1, 2010. Borrowers may now choose mediation at which parties must attend and evaluate foreclosure alternatives in good faith. The new law also provides that issues such as reinstatement of the mortgage, modification of the loan and restructuring of the mortgage debt are to be addressed at these mediations. Furthermore, the new law provides that Maine’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection is to provide assistance in foreclosure avoidance and related matters. You may contact Maine's Foreclosure Prevention Hotline at 1-888-664-2569 (1-888-NO-4-CLOZ) (Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection).
In addition to borrowers, tenants also endure hardship in the event of a foreclosure. Foreclosures may terminate leases and subject tenants to eviction. Maine’s new foreclosure law requires that tenants be informed when a foreclosure judgment is issued against a landlord. This allows tenants time to negotiate a new lease or find alternative housing.
CONTACT YOUR LENDER
Contact your lender or servicer at the first sign that you may have difficulty in making your mortgage payment. Explain your circumstances. Even if the foreclosure process has started, it is not too late to reach out to your lender or servicer.
Further information about modification programs may be found at: http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/loans/prevention/modification/printable.pdf
Further information about the Stabilization Act and how it may help you may be found at: http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.
HOPE NOW is an alliance between counselors, servicers, investors, and other mortgage market participants to maximize outreach efforts to at-risk homeowners and help them stay in their homes.
CONTACT A NOT- FOR- PROFIT HOUSING COUNSELOR
HUD Approved Counseling Agencies
Foreclosure Counseling Agencies
Aroostook Community Action Program, Inc.
Washington-Hancock Community Action Program
Washington and Hancock Counties
207-259-5015 - Machias
207-664-2424 - Ellsworth
Penobscot, Piscataquis, Knox, and Waldo
Kennebec Valley Community Action Program
Kennebec and Somerset Counties
Community Concepts, Inc.
Androscoggin and Oxford Counties
Sustainable Economic Solutions
York County Community Action
207-324-5762 Ext. 2967
Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
Money Management International
SEEK LEGAL ASSISTANCE
Pine Tree Legal Assistance
AVOID EQUITY THEFT & FORECLOSURE SCAMS
Foreclosure rescue fraud is sweeping the country and can end up costing you the home you're desperately trying to save from foreclosure. Scam artists often target homeowners struggling to meet their mortgage commitments or anxious to sell their homes. They often refer to themselves with titles that sound official, such as “foreclosure consultant” or “mortgage consultant,” and market themselves as a “foreclosure service” or “foreclosure rescue agency.” They advertise their services on Web sites or publications; they reach out to vulnerable consumers in person, by mail, over the telephone, or by e-mail. Your mortgage lender – or any legitimate financial counselor – can help you find real options to avoid foreclosure. If someone offers to negotiate with your lender and offers to arrange to stop or delay foreclosure for a fee, carefully check his or her credentials, reputation, and experience.
If you’re looking for foreclosure prevention help, avoid any business that:
Examples of foreclosure scams
Phantom help: The “specialist” really is a phony counselor who charges outrageous fees in exchange for making a few phone calls or completing some paperwork that a homeowner could easily do for himself. None of the actions results in saving the home. This scam gives homeowners a false sense of hope, delays them from seeking qualified help, and exposes their personal financial information to a fraudster.
Lease-Back or Repurchase Scams – Be very suspicious if someone offers to pay your mortgage and rent your home back to you. This scheme often involves signing the deed to your home over to the con artist. The con artist may promise to sell your home back to you, but this may be very difficult, if not impossible, under the terms of the contract.
The bait-and-switch: This scam also involves signing the deed over to a scam artist. In this scam, homeowners think they are signing documents to bring the mortgage current. Instead, they are actually signing over the deed to their home. Homeowners usually don’t know they’ve been scammed until they get an eviction notice.
New Maine law: Maine has a new law to prevent equity stripping during foreclosure, “An Act to Protect Homeowners from Equity Stripping during Foreclosure.” The Act regulates companies that take title to or other mortgage interest in foreclosed properties in exchange for allowing homeowners to remain in the properties as tenants as long as payments are made. The Act protects consumers from scam artists who seek to gain control of the property at a fraction of market value. The Act requires a business that engages in these transactions as a foreclosure purchaser to be licensed as a supervised lender before conducting business in Maine and to meet other statutory requirements.
Modification Fraud - Hope - http://www.loanscamalert.org/
What can you do to protect yourself?
Further helpful links to foreclosure information may be found at the Consumer Library
Last Updated: December 2, 2014
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