The state wants to help the tens of thousands of homeowners on the verge of foreclosure or in the foreclosure process next week when it hosts a homeowners’ assistance event at the Connecticut Convention Center.
“There’s no bigger issue in America today than restoring stability to our real estate markets,” Attorney General George Jepsen said at a press conference announcing the event. “We’re not going to have a national economic recovery until consumers are confident in the values of their homes.”
He said when someone loses their home all homeowners lose the equity and the value of their real estate. He said that’s why the state felt it was important to get behind this effort.
For years, banks seemed opposed to mortgage modifications, but Jepsen said they’re beginning to look more favorably upon them now than they did in the past.
Just a few months ago, Bank of America announced it was opening a regional walk-in center in Dedham, Mass., Jepsen said. When he told the bank he didn’t think that was close enough for someone who may live in Bridgeport, the bank responded by creating a walk-in center in Southington.
Webster Bank, which has a similar walk-in center, was just recognized in a Wall Street Journal article for being a leader in mortgage modification.
Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public affairs for Webster, said his bank instituted a foreclosure moratorium in 2008 and since then has done 1,200 modifications writing off about $200 million. He said the modifications have helped borrowers save about $350 per month.
Jepsen urged folks who have had difficulty with their mortgage servicer or bank in the past to come to the event Tuesday, Nov. 15 at the Convention Center.
“Bluntly, not everyone’s going to get a mortgage modification, some mortgages are simply too far gone, but you should still come cause there’s going to be mortgage counselors, there’s going to be probono attorneys, there’s going to be people who can give you help and assistance in making the difficult transition to rental housing,” Jepsen said.
There are an estimated 28,000 mortgages in some stage of foreclosure Banking Commissioner Howard Pitkin said Thursday. Foreclosures, which have been on the decline for the past few months, are likely to shoot up over the next few months as the robo-signing mess finally gets untangled.
Click here to read about the recent artificial dip in foreclosures.
Jepsen said that about 20 percent of the thousands expected to attend next Tuesday’s event will get their mortgage modified, and another 20 percent will have started the process and will have their mortgage modified at a later date. The rest won’t walk away empty handed though. He said many will receive counseling and legal help.
Jepsen urged homeowners to bring the right documents to the event so they can receive help. The list of documents people need are listed here.
“If you’re in danger, if you know that there are circumstances with respect to your budget or your family finances go to this event and talk to somebody,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy urged Thursday. “If you’re behind on your mortgage go to this event and talk to somebody. If you’re short of judgment or have not in the judicial process gotten to mediation go to this event.”
Malloy said even homeowners’ who have lost all hope should feel good about coming to this event. Jepsen added that sometimes people in these situations feel so downtrodden that they do not respond when the banks reach out to them.
“There’s been reporting about how few things have happened over a long period of time how few modifications were actually made, but this is a new opportunity that’s why I’m encouraging people who may have participated in events or discussions before to come to this one,” Malloy said.
The banks attending the event include Bank of America; Citibank, NA; GMAC Mortgage, LLC; HSBC National Bank USA; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; First Niagara Bank; McCue Mortgage; People’s United Bank; Webster Bank, NA and Wells Fargo Bank, NA. Also attending will be HUD-approved housing counselors, representatives of the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, Statewide Legal Services, The Workplace, Inc. and representatives of other state and non-profit agencies.
The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 15 at the Connecticut Convention Center, 100 Columbus Boulevard in Hartford. Free parking is available at the Convention Center garage.