Akaka Co-Sponsors Bill to Protect Families Facing Foreclosure

May 17, 2011, 8:15 AM HST · Updated May 17, 8:15 AM
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By Wendy Osher

U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka.

U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka of Hawai’i joined 10 other Senators in introducing the Regulation of Mortgage Servicing Act. The bill is aimed at helping homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure, by requiring more transparency from mortgage servicing agencies.

Sen. Akaka said the bill would bring several benefits including the following:

  • Bring an end the dual track process, under which a foreclosure process proceeds at the same time that a homeowner is being considered for non-foreclosure alternatives.
  • The bill would require banks and other mortgage servicing agencies to create a single point of contact for homeowners to work with and provide an independent, third-party review before sending a family to foreclosure.

“My office has received countless requests for help from local families frustrated by delays, confusion, broken promises, and conflicting advice from their loan servicers,” said Sen. Akaka.   “These families are simply trying to find a way to stay in their homes, and the added hardships they have endured are inexcusable.  This legislation will help families and loan servicers to communicate and work more effectively toward their mutual benefit,” said Sen. Akaka.

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Last year, Hawaii ranked 11th in the nation for foreclosures with one of every 45 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, according to RealtyTrac.  There were a total of 12,435 properties with foreclosure filings in the state last year, according to Sen. Akaka’s office.  That translates to a 38 percent increase over 2009, and three-and-a-half times as many filings as in 2008.

The Regulation of Mortgage Servicing Act was authored by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and was introduced on May 12.  In addition to Senator Akaka, original co-sponsors include Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

*** Supporting information courtesy Office of Sen. Daniel Akaka.

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