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Bill Would Require Lenders To Work More With Troubled Homeowners

Last updated on Thursday, February 19, 2009

(INDIANAPOLIS) - A house committee has approved a trio of bills aimed at stamping out mortgage abuses and providing breathing room to homeowners facing foreclosure.

The full house will vote next week on measures requiring lenders to attempt to rework mortgages before launching foreclosure proceedings; establishing a foreclosure prevention task force to educate homeowners about their options; and shifting oversight of mortgage lenders from the Secretary of State's Securities Division to the Department of Financial Institutions.

The home ownership preservation task force mirrors the existing foreclosure prevention network, but sets out specific instructions to seek federal and private funding to help homeowners and communities facing foreclosures.

The bill creates a second task force to be chaired by Chief Justice Randall Shepard, to look into establishing a network of pro bono attorneys to assist homeowners in foreclosure actions.

Legislators say they're concerned some lenders, especially out-of-state mortgage giants, appear uninterested in trying to negotiate new payment plans that would allow struggling homeowners to remain in their homes.

Rep. Jeb Bardon's (D-Indianapolis) bill would require lenders to spend up to a month working with homeowners before filing foreclosure papers.

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