Washington, D.C. – October 13, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and Members of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation sent a letter to President Obama urging him to act immediately to address our country’s troubled housing market. Specifically, the letter calls on President Obama to:
· Urge the Federal Housing Finance Agency to establish a plan to refinance all mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
· Push for a major principal reduction plan for underwater homeowners, such as modifications in coordination with Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings.
· Institute a “Homeowner’s Bill Of Rights” that would apply to HAMP, FHFA, HUD, VA and private servicer modification programs and include the following:
o Make the process homeowner-friendly: Ensure a single point of contact; require servicers to review documents within a timely fashion and disclose information; and ban “advanced fees.”
o Eliminate needless obstacles to effective modifications: Allow for flexibility in the debt to income ratio; end the requirement that homeowners be delinquent in order to be eligible for a loan modification; end dual tracking; and require that servicers not report adverse credit information while trial or permanent modification is underway;
o Ensure accountability and establish an appeals process: Create an Office of Consumer Advocate; conduct random audits of modifications; and establish an independent appeals process for homeowners who believe their modification has been improperly rejected or handled in violation of program rules
“Oakland continues to have one of the highest metro foreclosure rates in the country,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Oakland homeowners are estimated to have lost $12.3 billion in home values as a direct result of the foreclosure crisis. We must make a real effort at making millions of permanent modifications and refinancing as many homes as quickly as we can. Too many are on the brink of default and foreclosure and refinancing at today’s historically low rates would save hundreds of thousands, if not millions of homes. Finding a way to quickly refinance millions of mortgages would stabilize housing markets and go a long way to kick starting our economy and vital job growth. I hope the Administration hears the cries of the people and takes immediate action.”
Follow Barbara Lee on Twitter @RepBarbaraLee
Kristal DeKleer (202) 225-1882