SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbra), Chair of the Assembly Banking & Finance Committee, led the second in a series of informational hearings today to examine Californiaâ€™s foreclosure crisis, the stateâ€™s current loan modification programs, and methods by which the state could improve procedures to help struggling California homeowners. Nava was joined by Nevada Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, housing experts, representatives from the banking and mortgage industry, and state and local non-profit housing and consumer organizations.
â€œThis crisis has devastated thousands of California families and communities. Itâ€™s time to take a new approach to help families remain in their homes. Todayâ€™s hearing provided more evidence that our existing loan modification programs have been ineffective and the number of families benefiting from them is minimal,â€ said Assemblymember Nava. â€œI will continue to work with all the stakeholders who testified today to come up with viable and effective solutions, including the establishment of a loan mediation program.â€
California continues to have the third highest foreclosure rate in the nation, with one in every 144 homes in some stage of the foreclosure process. While these numbers have decreased from last year, 400,000 were nonetheless foreclosed on in California in 2009. Thus far, federal and state efforts to encourage banks and servicers to modify borrowersâ€™ loans have largely been on a voluntary basis, and those who need help are subsequently falling through the cracks. California needs a new direction and the implementation of a loan mediation program may be one of the solutions.
Assembly Bill 1588, sponsored by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was recently introduced by Assemblymember Nava and California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass. The measure will establish a monitored mediation program to help homeowners and lenders reach sustainable loan modifications. Under AB 1588, if attempts at loan modification fail, a reasonable transition plan would be established by the borrower and lender. This type of mediation program has proven successful in numerous other states and cities.
â€œFamilies working to turn around the economy need the financial system to work for them to avoid foreclosure,â€ Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) said. â€œAB 1588 builds upon successful mortgage workout programs other states have used to bring lenders and homeowners together to find alternatives to foreclosure. By providing the monitoring necessary for this process to succeed in Californiaâ€™s tough housing market, Iâ€™m confident this legislation will help more families stay in their homes and keep communities intact.â€
Nevada Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley testified today before the committee, stating that she believes Californians can benefit from a program similar to the one she sponsored in Nevada. “No matter where we live, it is critical that we do all we can to help reduce the number of foreclosures and help people stay in their homes. Our program in Nevada has shown initial success in stemming foreclosures. While I understand the obstacles California faces as a non-judicial foreclosure state, I look forward to working with the California Legislature to find ways that a similar program could be implemented, said Speaker Buckley.”
Over the next several weeks, Assemblymember Nava will analyze the testimony given at the hearings regarding loan mediation programs and work with stakeholders to determine how to best move forward to address the current crisis and lessen the detrimental impact on California families.
â€œI am honored to have Nevada Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley at the State Capitol today to testify on her successful foreclosure mediation program. I look forward to working with her as we make progress with California’s own monitored mortgage workout program,â€ said Nava.