Foreclosure protection bill stalls in Salem

Foreclosure protection bill stalls in Salem

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by Ed Teachout

kgw.com

Posted on February 29, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 1 at 12:36 PM

SALEM - A bill dealing with homeowners in foreclosure in the Oregon Senate passed with strong bipartisan support, but has ran into a roadblock in the House of Representatives.

With only one or possibly two days left before the legislature adjourns, many lawmakers fear what seemed like a good protection bill for homeowners may not pass the house where many Republicans are against it.

“It stops the tricks of the dual track where the bank tells you on one day they're going to work with you and on the next day forecloses, that needs to end,” Angela Martin with Economic Fairness Oregon said.

“We’ve been working together." House Representative Gene Whisnant of Sunriver said. "I thought yesterday we were going to make a deal and we still got problems so I hope we stay here long enough to do that.”

The bill is around 43 pages of new regulations to help homeowners who face foreclosure. 

“If the laws had passed last year, we would have still been in this house today," Ex-Salem Homeowner Ginny Real said. "

Speaking outside the home her and her husband owned for 24 years Real is angry at the way her bank foreclosed on their home. Real said her husband got seriously ill and it was tough making the $700-a month house payment.

So when she heard about the new Home Modification program she contacted her bank and began the process to lower her payment to just under $400 a month.

“I ended up applying three times. They (the bank) lost the paperwork twice. Third time they told me everything was going through and we got a knock on the door saying somebody bought the house and we were out in ten days.”

Now, Real and her husband live with their daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren. Her daughter Jami Real blames the bank for the foreclosure.

”They didn’t play fair at all, they’re crooked. Something needs to be in place to protect the homeowner not just the bank,” Real said.

But banks and now many Republican house members don’t like the foreclosure bill passed by the senate because of three new regulations.

First, it would require banks to have a representative sit down face to face with a homeowner to discuss options to avoid foreclosure. Second, it would stop what is call the dual track option where one bank representative is working with the homeowner to modify their loan while another representative is working on foreclosure.

Third, it would give the Oregon Department of Justice oversight of banks to make sure they were following the new rules.

"Because of the disgrace, I felt in losing my home after all these years I just kind of sat back," Ginny Real said. "And until I got angry enough and uptight with things and started seeking help it was too late to save my home. But I hope I can help others.”

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