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Mortgage Lending & Foreclosure Prevention

Consumers are faced with a variety of decisions and challenges when considering obtaining a mortgage to purchase a home or refinancing their current mortgage. They are doubly pressed when life circumstances cause them to go into default and when they are facing the possibility of foreclosure and losing their home.

Empire Justice Center has been working for over a decade to help assure that consumers have access to affordable, responsible mortgages and that their rights are protected when in foreclosure. This section of the website has information on state and federal laws to protect consumers with respect to mortgages and foreclosures, Empire Justice Center reports on mortgage lending and the foreclosure crisis, as well as resources to help consumers in default or at risk of foreclosure.




New Law Makes the Rules regarding Welfare Mortgages Clear and Provides Transparency and Accountability
The 2014-15 New York State budget contains Article VII legislation that amends SSL 106 to clearly state that HEAP, child care and SNAP cannot be charged against welfare mortgages. Read More

Top Ten Ways The CFPB Can Help You With Financial Questions
The U.S. PIRG Education Fund has put together this great resource of how the CFPB can help you. It includes information on how to make complaints to the CFPB. Read More




The Future of Wall Street Regulation Is in Andrew Cuomo's Hands
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo must soon appoint a replacement superintendent for the state Department of Financial Services (DFS), an obscure regulatory position that the current head, Benjamin Lawsky, elevated into a major national player over the past four years. Read More

11 lenders OK ‘zombie home’ code for N.Y.
M&T Bank Corp. and 10 other major mortgage lenders have agreed to monitor and maintain vacant properties across the state that are subjects of delinquent loans, as part of an effort to limit or prevent the neighborhood blight caused by abandoned homes. Read More

NY zombie home woes will linger at least 2 years: report
New York’s home foreclosure crisis will drag on at least through 2017 even though it has largely receded in many parts of the nation, a new report says. Read More


Empire Justice Memo of Opposition: Vacant and Abandoned Bill is Harmful to Tenants and Consumer Protections
Empire Justice Center strongly OPPOSES S.4498. While we support the concept of moving foreclosures on truly vacant and abandoned buildings along more quickly, this bill will not significantly hasten the timeline (if it hastens it at all), and only quickens the process at great cost to tenants and owners. It also will cause loss of material consumer protections. Read More

Empire Justice Memo of Support: Provide Clarity Regarding Standing to Sue in Foreclosure Actions
This bill provides a homeowner defendant the right to challenge standing at any time they learn that the plaintiff may not be the rightful party during a foreclosure proceeding. Read More




In the Eye of the Storm: Why the Threat of Foreclosure Damage Continues
Empire Justice Center's comprehensive analysis of five years of foreclosure data in Rochester, NY, with recommendations for changes in state and federal policy. Read More

Don’t Lien on Me: How New York’s Public Assistance Mortgages Undermine Homeownership and Financial Stability
This report provides an comprehensive analysis of New York’s use of Social Services Law §106, which allows Social Services Districts to recover public assistance paid to individuals who own their own homes, by taking a mortgage against the recipient’s property. The report also chronicles the legal background of the practice, the interplay between this policy and the push for foreclosure prevention, the need for detailed record keeping, and makes recommendations to ensure that debt is recovered against these mortgages only in the appropriate situations and for the correct amount. Read More




Welcome to the Foreclosure Guide :
This exciting and innovative new resource will help homeowners by providing a free, web-based, step-by-step guide through the foreclosure process, providing critical information that can help save their homes. Read More

Top Ten Ways The CFPB Can Help You With Financial Questions :
The U.S. PIRG Education Fund has put together this great resource of how the CFPB can help you. It includes information on how to make complaints to the CFPB. Read More

Tenants in Foreclosed Properties: What You Need to Know :
In New York, tenants have protections during and after a foreclosure. Read more to find out… Read More

User-Friendly Access to Data on Mortgage Lending :
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently launched a new page on its website where the public can quickly access information on mortgage lending in their community. This data is provided via the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and is often called HMDA data. Read More


New York's Foreclosure Process: From Standing to Settlement Conferences and Everything in Between
This presentation discusses and presents solutions to the procedural and substantive challenges in New York's Foreclosure Settlement Conference Process and updates practitioners on laws and regulations, legal issues, government programs, and resources to help homeowners facing foreclosure. Read More

Representing Homeowners at Mandatory Settlement Conferences
Mandatory settlement conferences are now an integral component to the foreclosure process for subprime loans. The governor has signed a new law that expands the settlement conferences to all residential loans. Pro Bono lawyers have been approved to represent homeowners for the limited capacity of these settlement conferences. This training addresses important considerations for lawyers willing to represent homeowners in this capacity. Read More

New Approaches to Stabilizing Homeowners and Communities in Western NY
This taped broadcast is geared towards housing counselors, legal services organizations, lenders, public officials, community-based organizations, and anyone who is concerned with the impact of the foreclosure crisis on homeowners and neighborhoods in the western part of the State. Discussion topics include information about housing counseling standards, specialized foreclosure trainings, State programs addressing the foreclosure issue, and successful approaches to reducing foreclosures, among other topics. Read More