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Consumer - Policy Related News

Empire Justice Center Statement on CFPB Director Cordray Stepping Down

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray has been a beacon for millions of Americans harmed by abusive financial services practices. Read More

Empire Justice Statement on Language Access Additions to the Uniform Residential Loan Application

On October 20, 2017, The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced its decision to add a preferred language question to the redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) by the end of 2017. Read More

Empire Justice Center Statement on Governor Cuomo's Hate and Human Rights Laws Expansion

The horrifying events that transpired in Charlottesville this past weekend showed us all that we have a long road ahead of us to reach a place where hate has no home in our hearts. We all have a responsibility to stand for what it right. Read More

Empire Justice Stands with Immigrants & Their Families

Empire Justice Center is proud to be one of more than 180 organizations across the country to stand up and speak out against the completely un-American attack on immigrants proposed by Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Tom Cotton (R-AR), and championed by President Donald Trump. Read More

Henrietta woman fights foreclosure to keep her house and wins (Democrat & Chronicle)

The foreclosure process can be maddening, even to attorneys who deal with it for a living... But free counseling and legal services can help distressed homeowners avoid certain pitfalls that can hurt a person’s chances of getting a loan modification, extension or lower interest rate. Read More

Empire Justice Statement on New FHFA Rules.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued a rule requiring Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and the Office of Finance to adopt plans that promote inclusion. These entities will also have to develop policies that address reasonable accommodations for employees to observe their sincerely held religious beliefs. Read More

Empire Justice Press Release: 2017 Legislative Session

Empire Justice Center achieved one notable win that will have a huge impact on disabled New Yorker’s access to disability benefits, but were keenly disappointed by being unable to get legislation that would allow victims of wage theft to get paid what they are owed, and a bill that would have ensured that crime and domestic violence victims’ right to call 911 is not impeded in communities where there are local nuisance ordinances, passed in the Senate. We came so close. It’s a shame New Yorkers will be without these critical protections until 2018. Read More

Empire Justice Press Release: New York State Delivers a Tight Budget with Several Notable Wins for Low Income New Yorkers

Upon the finalization of the 2017-2018 state budget, Empire Justice Center was excited to announce that several of its legislative priorities were included, including a new $1 million investment that will allow the organization to dramatically increase the amount of assistance it can provide to immigrants in need of legal representation, as well as two notable policy changes. At the same time, other important programs and proposals sustained losses that will be acutely felt by hard working New Yorkers in the coming year, causing much concern Read More

Suffolk creates hotline for homeowners facing foreclosure (Newsday)

Suffolk County has established a new hotline connecting homeowners at risk of foreclosure with free housing counseling and legal services. Read More

Foreclosure help program faces loss of funding, advocates say (Newsday)

A network of housing agencies and legal groups that has helped more than 20,000 Long Islanders facing foreclosure is pushing to get funding for its work included in next year’s state budget. Read More

Capitol Pressroom: Kirsten Keefe on Foreclosure Prevention (WCNY)

Capitol Pressroom - We discussed options for those facing foreclosure on a mortgage or a reverse mortgage from Empire Justice Center Senior Staff Attorney Kirsten Keefe. Read More

Empire Justice Statement on Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget Proposal

After the release of the Executive Budget Tuesday night, Empire Justice Center expressed appreciation that funding is included in Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal for several key programs that assist New Yorkers living at or near the federal poverty level. Read More

We Stand with ALL New Yorkers (Nosotros estamos unidos con todos los Neoyorquinos)

The outcome of this election has shaken us all to the core. (El resultado de las elecciones nos ha sacudido a todos.) Read More

1930s Rochester redlining maps show discrimination (Democrat & Chronicle)

In the late 1930s, the federal Home Owners' Loan Corp. (HOLC) had the powerful responsibility of grading neighborhoods across the country to decide whether home mortgage refinancing there would be insured by the government. Read More

Task force on vacant and abandoned property issues report (Democrat & Chronicle)

A Monroe County task force on vacant and abandoned property has made 24 recommendations to prevent vacancies, identify and maintain properties once they become vacant and to rehabilitate them. Read More

Zombie Homes Task Force Releases Recommendations (WXXI News)

A task force formed by Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello has issued its first report addressing a problem Bello calls one of the most concerning and frustrating issues facing homeowners: vacant or "zombie" properties. Read More

Recommendations made to cut vacant, abandoned homes in Monroe County (WHAM)

Recommendations were released Thursday by a task force focusing on reducing the number of vacant and abandoned homes in Monroe County. Read More

Task Force lists ways to confront ‘zombie’ house problem

A group that has been studying the problem of “zombie” houses since last spring released a report Thursday with 24 recommendations. Read More

Task force releases zombie properties report (City Newspaper)

The Monroe County task force on zombie properties issued its first round of recommendations for local, state, and federal governments and agencies today. Read More

WATCH: The Zombie Home Apocalypse In Monroe County (WXXI)

According to Rebecca Caico, Senior Staff Attorney with Empire Justice Center, there are thousands of zombie properties in Monroe County. We’ll discuss how they’re haunting taxpayers in ways they may be unaware of. Read More

The housing plague lurking in Monroe County's neighborhoods (City Newspaper)

State lawmakers say that they hope that the new requirements encourage banks to give greater thought to initiating foreclosures and provide them with an incentive to see the cases through promptly. Read More

Press Release: Ruhi Maker Appointed to CFPB Consumer Advisory Board

Empire Justice Center is pleased to announce the appointment of Ruhi Maker to a three-year term on the Consumer Advisory Board of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Read More

Joint statement on the fifth anniversary of the CFPB

Consumer, civil rights, and community-based groups say life is better for American families and neighborhoods because the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is at work fighting predatory lending and financial abuse. Read More

Foreclosures down from 2015, but persistent in certain states (Marketplace)

New foreclosure data out Thursday from research firm RealtyTrac show foreclosures are down, but there are still some rough spots. Read More

Empire Justice Center Statement on Governor Cuomo’s Signing of Ground Breaking Legislation to Improve Foreclosure Process and Address “Zombie” Properties

In a victory for communities across New York State that are still struggling to recover from the foreclosure crisis, both houses of the Legislature passed two pieces of legislation that, combined, will have a tangible impact on upstate and Long Island communities still struggling to recover from neighborhood blight caused by the recession and the foreclosure crisis. Read More

Empire Justice Press Release: 2016 Legislative Session: Great Strides and One Huge Disappointment

Upon the completion of the 2016 Legislative Session, Empire Justice Center was excited to see significant strides in addressing wage theft, and two huge victories that will impact the ongoing effects of the forclosure crisis on homeowners and communities. At the same time, the organization also expressed incredible disappointment that, for the third year in a row, essential protections for crime and domestic violence victims were not enacted by the New York State Senate. Read More

Limited English homeowners often face mortgage problems (Democrat & Chronicle)

Unnecessary foreclosures are among the dilemmas limited-English homeowners can face... Read More

Task force aims to combat damage of vacant property (Democrat & Chronicle)

Vacant and abandoned properties attract crime, fall into disrepair and put an incredible strain on municipalities that are left to deal with significant property code violations. These properties have negative equity impact on each and every property around them. Read More

Press Release: NYS Budget Delivers Mixed Outcomes for Low Income New Yorkers

Upon the release of the final 2016-2017 state budget, Empire Justice Center is excited to announce that several of its legislative priorities were included in the budget, but notes that it falls short on a number of other critical priority issues. Read More

Shareholders approve merger of Key, First Niagara (Times Union)

Shareholders have approved the acquisition by KeyBank of First Niagara Financial Group, the two companies announced Wednesday morning. Read More

Press Release: Empire Justice Center and Local Advocates Announce Agreement with KeyBank

Today, local housing, lending and consumer advocates were breathing a collective sigh of relief and expressing support for KeyBank’s announcement last week of its commitment to invest $16.5 billion in low and moderate communities over the next five years. Read More

KeyCorp prepares for big vote on First Niagara deal (Democrat & Chronicle)

Ever since KeyCorp decided to put in a massive $4.1 billion offer for First Niagara Financial Group, a deal that would make the Ohio-based bank one of the largest in Rochester and the country, it has been trying to allay fears. Read More

Empire Justice Center Statement on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2016 State of the State and Budget Address

Empire Justice Center reactions to Governor Cuomo's 2016 State of the State and budget address. Read More

New York Attorney General Examining Private Equity Firm’s Mortgage Business (The New York Times)

The rapid growth of Caliber Home Loans, a mortgage company owned by the private equity giant Lone Star Funds, has led to a surge in consumer complaints. Now it has led to regulatory scrutiny of Caliber’s business practices. Read More

Report: Bank policies worsen foreclosure crisis in areas (News 12 Long Island)

A new report claims certain communities may be suffering more from the foreclosure crisis because of bank policies. Read More

Long Island Communities Trying to Recover From the Foreclosure Crisis Lack Access to Mortgage Lending

Empire Justice Center Report finds that this key aspect of an economic recovery is not reaching low income families and communities of color Read More

Counseling, new rules could widen home ownership, study says (Newsday)

Long Island's poorest residents are missing out on the American dream of home ownership due to difficulties getting mortgages, according to a new analysis of federal home loan data. Read More

Schneiderman announces targeted advertising campaign to help Buffalo-area homeowners avoid foreclosure rescue scams (Niagara Frontier Publications)

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a targeted advertising campaign and consumer education initiative to help Buffalo homeowners spot, avoid and report mortgage rescue scams. Read More

The mortgage drought (City Newspaper)

Despite the economic recovery, African Americans and Latinos continue to lack equal access to homeownership in Rochester and Monroe County, says a new report from the Empire Justice Center, "The River Runs Dry II: The Persistent Mortgage Drought in Rochester's Communities of Color." Read More

Advocacy Group Says Racial Disparities In Local Mortgage Lending Persist (WXXI News)

A new report out by the Empire Justice Center in Rochester says that there are continued disparities in the way home mortgages are granted in parts of the Rochester area. Read More

Empire Justice focuses on mortgage lending (Democrat & Chronicle)

A report on mortgage lending found that not all families benefited equally from the economic recovery from 2010 to 2013, and not everyone who might want to own a home has an equal chance at what often is considered the essence of the American Dream.... Read More

Looking at disparate lending practices in Rochester (The Daily Record)

Providing fair access to homeownership is the goal of a recent study showing people of color in Monroe County, particularly in the city of Rochester, are denied loans at a rate at least double that of potential white buyers. Read More

Press Release: African American and Latino Borrowers and Neighborhoods of Color Continue to Have Little Access to Home Purchase Lending

Empire Justice report details how the increase in mortgage lending between 2011 and 2013 did little to help communities of color participate more fully in the American Dream. Read More

Empire Justice Center Statement on Chief Judge’s Creation of Permanent Commission on Access to Justice

Today, Empire Justice Center applauded Chief Judge Jonathan Lippmann’s July 22 announcement that the Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Services in New York will become a permanent Commission. Read More

Media Advisory: New Report Shows That African American and Latino Borrowers and Neighborhoods of Color Continue to Have Little Access to Home Purchase Lending

Media are invited to a community forum releasing Empire Justice’s report, “The River Runs Dry II: The Persistent Mortgage Drought in Rochester’s Communities of Color.” Read More

A.G. Schneiderman Highlights Success Of Programs Aimed At Revitalizing Communities Across New York State (NYS State Attorney General)

Homeowner Protection Program, Mortgage Assistance Program, And Have Helped Tens Of Thousands Of New York Families Stay In Their Homes Read More

The Future of Wall Street Regulation Is in Andrew Cuomo's Hands (New Republic)

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. (The Buffalo News)

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 (Poughkeepsie Journal)

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

N.Y. AG finds sponsors for payroll cards bill (Legal Newsline Legal Journal)

Two New York lawmakers will sponsor a bill designed to increase protection for workers using payroll cards, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Tuesday. Read More

Empire Justice Center Releases In the Eye of the Storm: Why the Threat of Foreclosure Damage Continues (RealEstateRama)

Empire Justice Center released its most recent report, “In the Eye of the Storm: Why the Threat of Foreclosure Damage Continues,” detailing the state of the foreclosure crisis in Rochester, NY, as well as all of New York State, and its impact on neighborhoods and municipalities. Read More

Foreclosures continue to hurt Rochester neighborhoods (City Newspaper)

For some time now, government reports have painted a fairly upbeat picture about the winding down of the foreclosure crisis and the rebound of the real estate market. But that’s taken from a national overview. Read More

Empire Justice Center Releases In the Eye of the Storm: Why the Threat of Foreclosure Damage Continues

Empire Justice Center report calls for State and Federal policies to stabilize New York neighborhoods impacted by foreclosures. Read More

Report from Empire Justice Center Looks at Home Foreclosures (Time Warner Cable News)

A team from the Empire Justice Center released a report Thursday titled "In the Eye of the Storm: Why the Threat of Foreclose Damage Continues." Read More

Rochester Foreclosure Rates Remain Steady (

A new report out shows that Rochester is not out of the woods yet when it comes to the foreclosure crisis. Read More

Report: NY foreclosure woes to linger at least 2 years (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle)

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

Crumbling foreclosed houses haunting Metro area (New York Post)

Thousands of vacant and abandoned eyesores are blighting neighborhoods across New York as the foreclosure crisis expands along a troubling new front: zombie loans. Read More

Conflicting Comments Delay Court's Debt Default Plan (Sign in required) (New York Law Journal)

The courts need additional time to digest more than 300 pages of analysis and criticism of the rules submitted by government officials, bar groups, the consumer finance industry and law firms specializing in debt collection, said office of Court Administration spokesman David Bookstaver. Read More

NY Senate gives final passage to foreclosure prevention bill (Daily News)

A bill to extend foreclosure prevention measures another five years won final legislative approval Tuesday. Read More

Empire Justice Center Applauds the Governor and State Legislature for Several Budget Outcomes Helping Low Income New Yorkers

Upon the release of the final 2014-2015 state budget, Empire Justice Center is pleased to see several of its legislative priorities contained within the budget, as it provides additional funding and resources for low income New Yorkers. Read More

Many New Yorkers living in foreclosure limbo (New York Post)

Tens of thousands of neighbors in the five boros and Long Island are living year-to-year as a shadow class of struggling homeowners mired in mortgages with no completed foreclosure, no expectation of making payments on the loan and no other alternative to get out from under the bad debt. Read More

Empire Justice Center Elects Officers and Re-Elects Board Members

Empire Justice Center, a statewide leader working to achieve social and economic justice in New York State, is pleased to announce the election of two new members to its Board of Directors. Read More

A.G. Schneiderman Announces National Multi-Billion Dollar Settlement With Mortgage Servicing Giant OCWEN Financial Services (NYS Attorney General)

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with mortgage servicing giant Ocwen Financial Services over alleged improprieties by the company and its subsidiaries related to mortgage servicing and foreclosure practices. Read More

Homeowners fight to end mortgage liens for those receiving public assistance (TWC News)

As some New Yorkers face tough financial times and seek public assistance, social service districts have sought to recover funds paid to homeowners by taking a mortgage lien against their property. Read More

Empire Justice Center's new report on public assistance mortgages (TWC News)

Empire Justice Center's new report on public assistance mortgages Read More

Advocates question ‘welfare liens’ (Time Union)

A group of advocates for the poor are looking to overhaul the little-known system of ”welfare liens” that still exist in New York, which they say is one of just two states (Connecticut being the other) that still has such a policy. Read More

New Report Documents the Costs of Public Assistance Liens on Low-Income New Yorkers and the Critical Need for Repeal or Reform

Today, Empire Justice Center published a report describing and quantifying the hidden costs of public assistance for recipients who own homes. The report, “Don’t Lien on Me: How New York’s Public Assistance Mortgages Undermine Homeownership and Financial Stability,” 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. Read More

Long Island Foreclosures Spur Looters Amid Home Limbo (Bloomberg)

Brenda Clarke, a single mother of three on Long Island, New York, said looters at the foreclosed home next door stoked her deepest fears about getting evicted. Read More

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman: More Big-Money Mortgage Settlements To Come (Daily News)

Schneiderman made what’s become a rare appearance at the state Capitol Wednesday to tout the benefits of the JPMorgan settlement and promise that additional banks will be targeted for their actions leading up to the mortgage crisis. Read More

Foreclosure assistance from billion dollar settlement (WNYT)

We're still suffering from economic abuses carried out by big banks now settling for billions of dollars in penalties. Read More

Schneiderman announces $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase (YNN)

Banking giant JPMorgan's $13 billion fine for its role in the housing crisis that ultimately led to the 2008 financial meltdown will have a real world impact on homeowners in New York. Read More

AG: JPMorgan settlement a sign of things to come (Times Union)

The deal resolves civil actions related to the behavior of the nation’s largest bank and related entities in the runup to the 2008 financial crash. Read More

When You Hear $13 Billion, Don't See Dollar Signs (NPR)

Thousands of homeowners will receive significant financial relief under the terms of a with JPMorgan Chase & Co. that was announced Tuesday by the Justice Department. Read More

There Goes The Neighborhood: Foreclosed Homes Shelter Crime, Threaten Communities (Long Island Press)

New York State had the third-highest number of homes in foreclosure in the nation—5 percent of mortgages, with 8 percent more in serious delinquency—behind Florida and New Jersey as of August, according to analytics firm CoreLogic’s latest report this summer. Read More

New York Attorney General Dedicates $20 Million to Housing Counseling (National Mortgage Professional Magazine)

New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced $20 million in grants to fund housing counseling and legal services for homeowners across the state. The award money represents the second round of a three-year, $60 million commitment made by the Attorney General’s Office to aid struggling homeowners in New York who are fighting to avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes. Read More

Rising foreclosures hurt Island as nation recovers (Newsday)

New foreclosure cases on Long Island are spiking, even as the mortgage crisis fades in the rest of the United States. Read More

Cracking Down on Predatory Payday Lenders (The New York Times)

The predatory industry known as payday lending is finally feeling the bite of state authorities alarmed that low-income borrowers are being gouged into long-term debt running at impossible interest rates of 500 percent and more. Read More

Be Our Guest: The fight to protect vulnerable homeowners from predatory lenders is not over (NY Daily News)

State Sen. Jeff Klein championed legislation requiring lenders to prove they actually own properties on which they wish to foreclose Read More

Casting light on 'shadow dockets' (Times Union)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has approved legislation designed to outlaw the kind of legal limbo that has enveloped thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure. Read More

Cuomo Signs Law to Curb 'Shadow Docket' (New York Law Journal)

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that proponents hope will erase two vexing problems that cropped up during the mortgage foreclosure crisis beginning in the late 2000s. Read More

Empire Justice Center Praises Governor for Quick Action on “Shadow Docket” Bill

Today Empire Justice Center praised Governor Cuomo for swiftly signing legislation that keeps homeowners at risk of foreclosure from falling into a legal limbo, allowing them to get into court supervised mediation more quickly to obtain affordable loan modifications. Read More

Home Sweet Home; Gov. Cuomo Signs Bill to Help Thousands of NYers Avoid Foreclosure (AARP New York)

AARP-backed Measure Will Speed Mediation, Deter “Robo-Signing,” Blight Read More

NY 'Shadow Docket' Law Shifts Onus To Foreclosure Lawyers (Law360)

A bill signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo designed to reduce the size of New York's “shadow docket," where thousands of strapped homeowners reside in foreclosure limbo as their costs escalate, will force lenders and their counsel to bring ironclad suits or risk quick dismissals, experts said Thursday. Read More

‘Shadow docket,’ other bills are approved by Cuomo (Times Union)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that would help keep troubled homeowners out of the so-called “shadow dockets” in which foreclosure proceedings have started but have been stalled by a lack of proper paperwork by lenders or loan servicers. Read More

‘Shadow Docket’ bill among those signed by Cuomo (

Among the 132 bills approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo late Wednesday: A measure that will require a “certificate of merit” at the start of a foreclosure proceeding, which lawmakers hope will cut down on so-called “shadow docket” of pending foreclosures. Read More

NYRL Press Release: (New Yorkers for Responsible Lending)

State Coalition Applauds Governor Cuomo for Signing into Law a Bill to Prevent “Robo-Signing” Abuses in the Foreclosure Process and Curtail New York’s “Shadow Docket” Read More

Attorney General And Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein Take Aim At Big Banks Exploiting Foreclosure Victim (Brooklyn News Corp)

Alongside Bronx foreclosure victim Daisy Vargas—and the four generations of family members who call her Castle Hill residence home—top elected leaders highlighted recently passed ​legislation aimed at preserving important homeowner rights during the foreclosure process. Read More

Senate Majority Coalition Leader Jeff Klein, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, And Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein Take Aim At Big Banks Exploiting Foreclosure Victims (NYS Attorney General)

Elected Leaders and Foreclosure Victims Highlight Recently Passed Legislation That Could Eliminate New York’s “Shadow Docket” and Help Homeowners Keep their Homes Read More

Proposed ‘Certificate of Merit’ bill aims to help foreclosure victims (New 12 The Bronx)

New legislation seeks to help Bronx homeowners who are facing foreclosure. Read More

Awaiting Foreclosure Relief (The New York Times)

Legislation in New York awaiting the governor’s signature would prevent lenders’ lawyers from leaving homeowners facing foreclosure in a state of legal suspense. Read More

Governor Urged to Take Quick Action on Bill to Help Spare NYers from Foreclosure

Statewide Coalition Says Every Day of Delay Puts 92 More Homeowners at Risk of Losing Homes; Bill Would Speed Mediation for Affordable Loan Modifications Read More

Press Release: Empire Justice Center Applauds the State Legislature for Passage of Key Bills Affecting Low-Income New Yorkers

Two domestic violence bills, one child care bill and a critically important foreclosure bill passed both houses at the end of session last week. Read More

Empire Justice Center happy with session (The Times Union)

The group representing many small businesses in New York just registered its displeasure with the past legislative session, but the Empire Justice Center, which provides legal services to those in need, it pleased with some of the laws passed by legislators including a measure to hold lenders more accountable in foreclosure cases. Read More

N.Y. bill would speed up foreclosure 'waiting game' (

Delay can prove a catastrophic enemy of New Yorkers facing the loss of their homes to foreclosure. Read More

Attorney general sues HSBC over foreclosures (The Buffalo News)

Thousands of New Yorkers have likely been denied a better chance to get their homes out from under foreclosure by HSBC Bank USA and its Depew mortgage operations facility, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is charging in a new lawsuit. Read More

Lefkowitz: Help homeowners in foreclosure get mediation (Newsday)

There's a crisis brewing for homeowners on Long Island. Thousands of foreclosures filed against homeowners in the past three years are sitting in limbo. Cases get stuck because banks are not filing the required court papers that trigger a homeowner's right to meet with the lender in a court-supervised settlement conference -- a system designed to find alternatives to foreclosure. Read More

A.G. Schneiderman and Senate Majority Coalition Leader Klein Highlight Foreclosure Relief Bills (

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Senate Majority Coalition Leader Jeff Klein today highlighted the “Certificate of Merit” bill (A. 5582) and the Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act (A.7395), two important pieces of legislation to protect New York homeowners facing foreclosure. Read More

N.Y. Assembly passes 'shadow docket' legislation (Thomson Reuters)

The New York State Assembly this week approved a bill designed to expedite residential foreclosure cases by requiring lenders to file mandatory paperwork earlier in the process. Read More

Assembly Passes Bills Giving Foreclosure Protections (New York Law Journal)

One bill would require residential mortgage holders to file the paperwork necessary to initiate mandatory settlement conferences where lenders are seeking to foreclose, while another would impose both misdemeanor- and felony-level penalties for some fraudulent foreclosure practices. Read More

A.G. Schneiderman Commends Assembly For Passing Foreclosure Relief Bills (NYS Attorney General)

Bills Will Help Prevent New York Homeowners From Getting Trapped In The Growing “Shadow Docket” Of Frozen Foreclosure Cases Read More

Thousands of New Yorkers Could Avoid Foreclosure Under Bill Passed by Assembly (AARP)

Thousands of New Yorkers facing foreclosure would have a better chance to avoid the loss of their homes under a bill the State Assembly approved today. Read More

Senate Bill Freezes Student Loan Rates for Two Years to Provide Time for Comprehensive Reform (The Institute for College Access & Success)

New legislation (S. 953) introduced by Senators Jack Reed and Tom Harkin, along with Majority Leader Harry Reid and nine other senators, prevents interest rates on subsidized student loans from doubling as scheduled this July and pays for itself by closing tax loopholes. Read More

NY attorney general threatens to sue Wells Fargo, Bank of America (MPR News - The Daily Circuit)

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says he plans to sue Wells Fargo and Bank of America for violating terms of the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement. Read More

No loan sharks welcome (Times Union)

The Cuomo administration kills a bill that would have legalized payday loans. Let’s hope the check-cashing industry gets the message. Read More

Assemblyman's payday loan bill would mean business as usury for the poor (NY Daily News)

Carl Heastie, assemblyman and Bronx Democratic boss, should be ashamed. He’s chief sponsor of a horrendous piece of legislation that would let low-income New Yorkers, including his Wakefield constituents, be victimized by interest rates of up to 200%. Read More

High-Interest Loan Bid Opposed By Cuomo Administration (NY Daily News)

The Cuomo administration has effectively killed a legislative bid by check cashing entities to charge up to 200% interest and fees on short-term loans. Read More

Cuomo's stance helps kill loan bill (Times Union)

The Cuomo administration on Monday took the unusual step of coming out against a bill before it had even moved out of committee — in the process killing an effort to legalize what critics say would be legalized usury. Read More

Wealth Gap Among Races Has Widened Since Recession (The New York Times)

Millions of Americans suffered a loss of wealth during the recession and the sluggish recovery that followed. But the last half-decade has proved far worse for black and Hispanic families than for white families, starkly widening the already large gulf in wealth between non-Hispanic white Americans and most minority groups, according to a new study from the Urban Institute. Read More

Tabla de salvación para dueños de viviendas en NY (El Diario)

Fiscalía estatal de Nueva York lanza una línea gratuita de ayuda para salvar inmuebles hipotecados Read More

Many Long Island Communities Face Long Term Impact of Foreclosures

Study identifies hardest hit towns and strategies to keep families in their homes and limit damage to the local tax base. Read More

LI's minority enclaves hit hard by foreclosure (Newsday)

Long Island communities with the highest concentrations of houses slated for foreclosure are also the neighborhoods where many black and Hispanic residents live, reflecting a disproportionate impact of the housing crisis for minority groups, according to a new study of foreclosure warning notices sent by banks. Read More

A.G. Schneiderman And A.G. Coakley Lead 9 State Coalition Demanding New Leadership Over Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac (NYS Attorney General)

Thanks to New York's Attorney General for taking the lead on this critical national issue impacting NY homeowners! Read More

Gouging the Poor in New York (The New York Times)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has warned debt collectors that they could face legal sanctions if they try to collect predatory loans that violate the state’s usury law, which prohibits loans with interest rates above 25 percent. The governor needs to take an equally forceful stand against pending bills that would encourage predatory lending by allowing check-cashing stores to enter the lending business and exempting them from the usury law. Read More

Governor Cuomo Announces Department of Financial Services Notifies Debt Collectors Not to Seek Collection on Illegal Payday Loans (NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Department of Financial Services has sent letters to all debt collectors in New York stating that it is illegal to attempt to collect a debt on a payday loan since such loans are illegal in New York. Read More

Empire Justice’s 2013 priorities (The Daily Record)

The focus is driven by the state’s continuing recovery from the impact of the financial services meltdown and subsequent recession, as well as the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. Read More

Plan loads home loans (Times Union)

Federal agency asks to add big fee to mortgages, citing state's foreclosure shields. Read More

Will Foreclosure Abuses Ever End? (The New York Times)

This editorial in the New York Times critiques the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's recent rule to regulate mortgage servicers and the foreclosure process. Read More

A. G. Schneiderman Announces $20 Million In Funding To Help Families In New York State Avoid Foreclosure (Office of the Attorney General)

A portion of the $20 million is also going to support a partnership between the OAG and two “Anchor Partners,” who will assist with training, technical assistance, and other support systems to ensure the network is providing the highest quality of services to at-risk homeowners. The Center for New York City Neighborhoods will serve as Anchor Partner for groups operating in NYC, and the Empire Justice Center will serve as the Anchor Partner for the rest of the State. Read More

Report finds FHA/VA Lending Disproportionately Prevalent in Neighborhoods of Color

Leading community organizations, including Empire Justice Center, today report evidence of a two-tiered mortgage market characterized by high rates of government-backed loans made both to borrowers in communities of color and to minority borrowers in their new report, “Paying More for the American Dream VI: Racial Disparities in FHA/VA Lending.” Read More

Empire Justice Center Applauds Consumer Bureau’s New Credit Card Disclosure Policy

Empire Justice Center praised the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) announcement yesterday that it will now make its credit card complaint data accessible to the public. Read More

A.G. Schneiderman Announces $60 Million Commitment To Fund Housing Counseling And Legal Services For Struggling Homeowners (NYS Attorney General)

Funding Housing Counseling And Legal Services Will Help Struggling New Yorkers Keep Their Homes Read More


At an event at the Long Island Housing Partnership, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the launch of the Homeowner Protection Program, his office’s commitment of $60 million over three years to fund housing counseling and legal services for struggling New York homeowners. Read More

AG Announces $60M in Foreclosure Help Funding (Long Island Press)

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Monday a $60-million program to assist struggling homeowners facing foreclosure on Long Island and beyond. Read More

A.G. Schneiderman Introduces Legislation To Protect New Yorkers From Foreclosure Fraud (New York State Attorney General)

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the introduction of his bill in the state Legislature that would protect New Yorkers from fraudulent business practices like "robosigning" in the foreclosure process. Read More

New Survey of Housing Counselors Points to Banks Failures in Compliance with Foreclosure Prevention (California Reinvestment Coalition)

A new survey of housing counselors in California reveals the failure of banks to comply with policies and programs that would help homeowners avoid foreclosure. Read More

NYS Foreclosure Prevention Services Progam Campaign Celebrates Albany Collaboration to Restore Funding

The New York State Foreclosure Prevention Services campaign today thanks and applauds the groundbreaking agreement among Governor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the New York State Legislature to provide six months of critical funding for the statewide Foreclosure Prevention Services Program in the FY 2012-13 budget. Read More

Significant Victories in State Budget to Benefit Struggling New Yorkers

After an initial review of the budget agreement struck by the Governor and Legislative leaders this week, the Empire Justice Center declared victory on several important initiatives that will have a positive impact on New Yorkers who are struggling financially. Read More

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Up To $15 Million Of National Mortgage Settlement To Extend Funding For Foreclosure Prevention And Other Related Services (NYS Attorney General)

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that up to $15 million of the $132 million he secured in the national mortgage servicing settlement will be used to extend funding for foreclosure prevention and other related services. Read More

NYS Foreclosure Prevention Services Program Campaign Applauds Efforts to Restore Funding

The New York State Foreclosure Prevention Services Campaign today applauded the New York State Legislature for its efforts to restore funding for the statewide Foreclosure Prevention Services Program in the FY 2012-13 budget. Read More

A.G. Schneiderman Secures $136 Million For Struggling New York Homeowners In Mortgage Servicing Settlement (NYS Attorney General)

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today a $136 million settlement for New York with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers over foreclosure abuses. Read More

Push to Avert Foreclosures Hits Court Logjam (The New York Times)

Courts statewide have been mired in often hopeless cases involving loans that have left bus drivers and grocery clerks, among others, owing $700,000 or more on homes that have fallen in value. Read More

Foreclosure Dispatches: Views From Around the Country (Huffington Post)

Dispatch #1: Sarah Ludwig and Josh Zinner, Co-Directors, Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP) in New York City Read More

Foreclosure Prevention Services Funding Campaign Rally & Press Conference

On January 31st, advocates from across New York gathered in The Well of the Legislative Office Building to rally for funding for the vital services they provide to homeowners facing foreclosure. Read More

Rally against Foreclosure Prevention cuts (YNN)

Homeowners in crisis were looking for a little help at the state capitol on Tuesday. Some fear proposed state budget cuts could trigger more home foreclosures. Read More

Thousands of Distressed Homeowners Will Be Left in the Lurch by Imminent Loss of State Funding for Foreclosure Prevention

Elected Officials, Advocates and Homeowners Call for Funding in New York State’s Budget for Foreclosure Prevention Read More

Non-profits, lawmakers want foreclosure-prevention funds in budget (Politics on the Hudson)

Non-profit groups that provide counseling and legal services to homeowners at risk of foreclosure and a number of lawmakers are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include $25 million in the state budget to continue the statewide Foreclosure Prevention Services Program. Read More

‘The Capitol Pressroom’ with Susan Arbetter (WNYC- The Empire)

Listen to Kirsten Keefe, our senior staff attorney with the Consumer Housing, C.A.S.H. and Community Development Unit in the Albany office as well as Hilary Lamishaw, housing counselor at TRIP/ NeighborWorks Alliance NYS react to the Governor's budget proposal. Read More

Foreclosure services seen at risk in budget (Newsday)

Homeowner advocates said Tuesday that an array of counseling and legal assistance programs for people facing foreclosure is endangered by cuts in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposed state budget. Read More

State Money Will Help Replace U.S. Funds for Foreclosure Aid (New York Law Journal)

Legal service providers apparently have made up approximately $2.3 million of the $22 million that they expect to lose for their foreclosure prevention programs as the federal stimulus money that has financed the work dries up. Read More

Empire Justice Statement on Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address

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Opinion: NY must keep helping homeowners (Newsday)

After the nation's housing bubble burst in 2008, New York State took action to address the foreclosure crisis crippling housing markets and devastating low-income communities. The state invested in an innovative, collaborative web of programs to provide housing counseling and legal services to New Yorkers confronted with the loss of their homes. But now that funding is set to expire. Read More

Foreclosure Prevention Programs Urge State to Pick Up Funding (New York Law Journal)

Foreclosures have slowed to a crawl in the last year as lenders coped with accusations of slipshod procedures and the state courts imposed a requirement that attorneys and lenders attest to the accuracy of their filings. But that breathing space is about to end, court officials say. Read More

Statewide Campaign to Save the Foreclosure Prevention Services Program Press Release re: Assembly Hearing

Campaign members traveled from all over the state to New York City to testify at Assembly Hearings on Foreclosure to underscore the critical role funding from the Foreclosure Prevention Services Program plays in allowing them to help save homes in their communities. Read More

Five myths about Dodd-Frank (The Washington Post)

After a worldwide financial meltdown — and a $700 billion taxpayer-funded bailout — the need for common-sense financial reforms was clear. But now, even though the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of only beginning to take effect, critics are launching false attacks against the law in an effort to undermine it. Read More

Judge Calls Off Eviction of Rochester Woman, For Now (YNN)

Rochester homeowner avoids eviction with the help of housing counselors. Read More

Elizabeth Warren, Champion of Consumer Financial Protection (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Banks don't trust her. Republicans won't confirm her. Yet she's already won her battle to remake how America borrows. Read More

Thousands caught in foreclosure (Times Herald-Record)

Across Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties, thousands of families have already lost their homes, and thousands more face the prospect of eviction in coming years, as the worst housing crisis in decades plays out across the region. Read More

LI foreclosure filings at twice state rate (

Long Island homeowners received foreclosure-related filings at twice the statewide rate in the three years following the 2007 collapse of the subprime lending market, the state comptroller reported Tuesday. Read More

Albany Bill Would Let Check-Cashers Provide Loans (City Limits)

The Senate and Assembly banking committees have both approved a bill to permit check-cashing outlets to provide short-term loans. Backers say it offers financing to those whom regular banks don't serve. Critics say it would permit exploitative “payday” lending. Read More

NYS Senate Advances Bill that Would Open Door to Predatory Lending

New Yorkers for Responsible Lending, a statewide coalition of 151 groups, called on the state Senate today to withdraw a bill that would permit check cashers to make usurious small-dollar loans, and would open the door to predatory payday lending, which the state has long prohibited. Read More

Budget Cuts Imperil Legal Aid in Foreclosure Cases (The New York Times)

The state’s budget squeeze has put at risk more than 120 legal aid and homeowner-counseling agencies across the state that have provided a last-ditch legal and economic lifeline to thousands of distressed homeowners. Read More

Consumer protection bureau faces challenges (The Daily Record)

Victims of deceptive financial loans and products thought they finally had some federal protection with the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but the CFPB is threatened even before it is officially launched. Read More

More cuts hit foreclosure prevention assistance (The Daily Record)

Monroe County loses its foreclosure settlement conference referee due to court budget cuts. Read More

Cuomo vetoes pay for foreclosure prevention services (The Business Review)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s veto of $1.5 million to pay for foreclosure prevention services in New York shocked housing advocates who say the program is vital to help struggling homeowners. Read More

Veto of Foreclosure Prevention Services Severs Lifeline for Homeowners

Legal services and housing counseling providers across the state decried Governor Cuomo’s veto of $1.5 million in foreclosure prevention services funding which was put in the budget by the Assembly Majority in a last ditch effort to keep the program alive through the end of the state fiscal year. Read More

Advocacy group laments loss of foreclosure services funds (Daily Gazette)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing to cut funding for foreclosure prevention services at a time when data indicate the number of homes in foreclosure will greatly accelerate in coming months, according to an advocacy group. Read More

69,000 NY home loans at risk of foreclosure (The Business Review)

Nearly 69,000 home loans in New York are at imminent risk of foreclosure, a situation that an advocacy group said today could lead to a “tsunami” of foreclosures over the next year or two. Read More

717 more LI homes in foreclosure process (Newsday)

More than 700 mortgage borrowers fell into the foreclosure process on Long Island last month, according to a report released Thursday that also showed the pace of home repossessions slowing. Read More

New Wave of Protests Fighting Banksters (The Notion: The Nation's Group Blog)

The Empire Justice Center is predicting a “tsunami” of foreclosures coming, and Bank of America is refusing to write down mortgage debt. Republicans in Congress want to eliminate the Home Affordable Modification Program, which helps people keep their homes and Democrats are flagging in their support. Read More

Foreclosure crisis entering a new phase (The Daily Record)

Dr. Barbara van Kerkhove, Research and Policy Analyst at the Empire Justice Center recently published an exhaustive report on the state’s foreclosure crisis. The report indicates the state is nowhere near the end of the foreclosure crisis, which now includes those homeowners with good credit and prime loans. Read More

Foreclosure prevention group seeks $15M in state funding (The Business Review)

Housing advocates will be at the Capitol in Albany, New York, today asking legislators to set aside $15 million in the budget to continue a foreclosure prevention program that will run out of money this year. Read More

Forecast for New York: “Tsunami” of Foreclosures (Public News Service)

Nearly 69,000 home loans statewide are at imminent risk of foreclosure in New York, and the majority of them are prime, rather than subprime or 'alt-A' loans. Read More

Flood of Foreclosures Expected Just as Funding to Help Homeowners Dries Up

New analysis of data from the Federal Reserve of New York shows that the foreclosure crisis in New York is far from over – and without legislative action to provide funding for the state’s “Foreclosure Prevention Services Program,” thousands of homeowners will have little help in saving their homes when foreclosure strikes. Read More

Advocates: What Cuomo Could Get Done In 100 Days (Politics on the Hudson )

Good-government and environmental protection groups want Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo to issue a series of executive orders in his first 100 days as a way to get the ball rolling on changing the state. Read More

Tenants do have rights if foreclosure looms (Times Union)

Tenants are the invisible victims of the mortgage crises, with very few advocates. Read More

NY Joins National Foreclosure Work Group (The Daily Record)

New York is joining the rest of the nation in a bipartisan mortgage foreclosure working group being led by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. Read More

Is a New State Law Curbing Home Foreclosures? (Times Union)

New York’s tough new foreclosure law might be cutting the number of foreclosures in the state — at least temporarily. Read More

Press Release: Paying More for the American Dream IV

Study finds TARP-supported banks reduced lending to communities of color dramatically in Rochester, New York and six other cities across the nation. Read More

Banking on Hypocrisy (Politico)

While American families have made clear that they overwhelmingly support the reforms that a new consumer financial protection agency will produce — like clear, understandable terms and conditions for consumer credit products and accountability for the big banks — the lobbyists have made equally clear their plan to kill the agency. Read More

New Law Protects Credit Cardholders (YNN Rochester)

Signed into law by the President, the Credit Card Bill of Rights will ban certain unfair and deceptive fees and rate increases. Read More

New Law Mandates Settlement Conferences in All Foreclosure Cases (Nassau Lawyer)

New laws now require all lenders seeking to foreclose mortgages to participate in a settlement conference in court. Read More

Press Release - Paying More for the American Dream III

This report examines the impact of CRA in seven metropolitan areas in the United States: Chicago; New York City; Los Angeles; Rochester, NY; Boston; Charlotte, and Cleveland. Read More

Spitzer State of the State Message Brings Message of Hope and Unity

Advocates from the Empire Justice Center expressed optimism as they watched Governor’s Spitzer’s State of the State address today. Read More

Report Highlights Racial Disparities in Mortgage Lending By Country’s Largest Lenders

Today at the Federal Reserve Board Consumer Advisory Council meeting, a collaboration of advocacy agencies, including Empire Justice Center, released a report showing that the largest lenders making both prime and subprime loans have a disproportionate share of their higher cost loans going to minority borrowers across the nation. Read More