STAMFORD, Conn. — Gov. Dannel Malloy was joined by state legislators and bankers Tuesday in Stamford to sign a housing bill into law that is designed to increase protections for homeowners from foreclosure and to streamline the foreclosure process.
“It will help keep more people in their homes, it will help the homeowner, it will help the lender and help the neighborhoods,” Malloy said during his first bill-signing in his hometown.
“The economy might be improving, but there are still people hurting out there,” state Sen. Carlo Leone, D-36th District, said during the signing at the Housing Development Fund’s office in Stamford. Leone represents Stamford and Darien.
State Rep. William Tong, D-147, who co-chairs the state’s Banks Committee with Leone, said the bill will help people hang onto their largest financial investments and protect them from banks possibly acting in bad faith.
“It’s going to help the 238 families that started the foreclosure process earlier this year,” said Tong, a candidate for mayor in Stamford who now represents Stamford and Darien.
Here are specifics in the law for both lenders and borrowers for the mediation process, according to a release from Malloy’s office:
▪ Lenders must provide borrowers with mortgage history and other information.
▪ Borrowers must assemble and provide the lender with a complete financial package at the beginning of the process and in connection with requests for foreclosure alternatives.
▪ The newly defined “Objectives of the Mediation Program” are to determine whether an agreement can be reached to avoid foreclosure, or to expedite the foreclosure process in a manner acceptable to both parties if an agreement can’t be reached. The “ability to mediate” means that the parties are willing and able to participate in the process in good faith without unreasonable delay.
▪ Lenders and their counsel must be familiar with the borrower’s loan file, alternative options, and prior history in the process.
Jerome Murray of Stratford, a client at the Housing Development Fund, hopes the bill does what it is designed to do. He has been fighting to rework his home loan with Bank of America for the past two years. He lives with his father, wife and three kids.
“I love my home, I want to keep my home, and I can afford my home,” he said, thanking Malloy and the other politicians for the new law.
Earlier this year, the bill was passed unanimously by the state House and Senate.
Read more about the bill here.