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Massachusetts Presses Lenders on Foreclosures
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Massachusetts Presses Lenders on Foreclosures

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Now over the last year, home foreclosure filings have jumped nearly 50 percent.

But we have news of some help on the way for some people in one part of the country today. In Massachusetts, borrowers with little or no credit have turned in desperation to the governor for help. And he has agreed to give it.

NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

CHRIS ARNOLD: The move follows a protest last week where dozens of homeowners camped out outside the governor's office asking for help before their homes were foreclosed on. Some said their loan officers are mortgage brokers lied to them about the interest rates they'll be paying, and many such as Ramona Bowen(ph) stood to lose their homes in a matter of days.

Ms. RAMONA BOWEN (Resident, Massachusetts): I have a four-year-old son, I work hard, I'm a single parent, I don't have a good job, I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. I cry every night when I go home because I don't know what's going to happen the next day.

ARNOLD: Advocates were singling out Governor Duval Patrick in part because prior to being elected, he served on the board of Ameriquest, one of the nation's biggest subprime lenders. Patrick agreed to meet with the homeowners. State officials have since made calls on their behalf.

In most cases, they've gotten the lenders to agree to delay the foreclosures. And now, Governor Patrick is extending that same kind of help to people across the stage who are about to lose their homes.

Governor DUVAL PATRICK (Massachusetts): Give them time to help work out a solution that works for the borrower and in many cases, is for the lender too. Because in most cases, lenders don't want to be in the homeownership business. They'd rather have the loan repaid.

ARNOLD: The state's division of banks on a case-by-case basis will try to secure a two-month reprieve for people who are about to be foreclosed on. A borrower first have to file a complaint. Homeowners will be put in touch with non-profit groups who can advise them on refinancing options. The governor's office is also encouraging lenders to modify the terms of unaffordable adjustable rate loans.

Chris Arnold, NPR News, Boston.

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