TRENTON – Senator Ronald L. Rice, D-Essex, released the following statement today after the Senate Commerce Committee approved his bill, S-1599, which would create the New Jersey Homeownership Preservation Act and would establish among other things a Foreclosure Prevention Fund. The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
“Every day there are new reports on the troubled housing market, and the victims who are losing their homes to foreclosures, and sub prime loans account for roughly 1/2 of all foreclosure.
“Last year, I pledged to work with various governmental, non profit and for profit organizations to help the struggling residents keep their homes. We have made progress, and I am committed to see this problem solved.
“Too many families are losing their homes and my legislation would address several problems that those close to or currently in foreclosure are facing. There is no single-perfect solution but I have continued to work with various interest groups on my legislation so that we will reduce the devastating impact that foreclosures have on our residents and communities.
“My legislation would take a big step towards easing the residential mortgage crisis. My proposed New Jersey Homeownership Preservation Act would provide needed assistance to a Foreclosure Prevention Fund, by charging a $2,000 fee to lenders or loan servicers when they initiate foreclosure proceedings on high-cost loans. This fee would be an incentive for a bank to help a borrower refinance, rather than choose to foreclose.
“By creating a Homeownership Prevention Fund, we can provide counseling services and education, emergency foreclosure prevention assistance to homeowners, and also fund efforts by non-profits to purchase foreclosed properties from lenders and put them to productive use. This measure would require lenders to give homeowners the time they need to try to refinance or pursue another alternative to foreclosure.
“With the approval of this bill by the Senate Commerce Committee, we are one step closer to rescuing families from their foreclosure nightmares.” ###