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Spitzer unveils subprime help – QNS.com

Spitzer unveils subprime help

Saying the federal government has not done enough to address the subprime mortgage crisis, Governor Eliot Spitzer hopes a new piece of state legislation will provide help to thousands of New Yorkers.
Spitzer unveiled a comprehensive plan on Tuesday, March 4 that includes requiring lenders to send a pre-foreclosure notice to homeowners at least 60 days before initiating legal action and expanding and strengthening laws to protect borrowers from evolving predatory lending practices.
“With thousands of New Yorkers impacted by this crisis, we must enhance protections against predatory lending practices while continuing to make credit available to borrowers who have the ability to repay,” Spitzer said.
Spitzer’s plan, which he put together with the help of industry groups, non-profits and government agencies, would require loan representatives serving loans on residential property in New York to register with the state’s Banking Department and also make it easier to prosecute residential mortgage fraud.
“This proposal strengthens consumer protections, gives law enforcement the tools it needs and also recognizes that we must retain the vitality of the mortgage financing industry,” Spitzer said.
During his announcement, Spitzer said that New York State had 57,350 foreclosure filings in 2007 that affected nearly 39,000 homes, according to data from RealtyTrac.
Parts of Queens, especially areas in the southeastern and northwestern parts of the borough have experienced tremendous increases in filings during the past two years, and experts have said they don’t see the trend changing without serious action.
Assemblymember Jose Peralta, who plans to introduce his own mortgage bill of rights into the Assembly this week, said that Spitzer’s legislation was a good comprehensive plan, but he believes a critical element is still lacking.
“I think there is an 800 pound gorilla that we’re not going after and that’s the lending institutions,” Peralta said. “The lending institutions are as much as fault as anyone else.”
Peralta said he would like to see language in Spitzer’s proposed legislation addressing this concern, but he also said that he was encouraged that the bill also establishes measures to protect homeowners from falling victim to unscrupulous bail-out schemes.

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