|For Immediate Release:
October 30, 2008
DCA, DOBI Commissioners Meet With State Mayors and
Discuss Strategies to Deal with Foreclosures
TRENTON – Officials from the state departments of Banking and Insurance, Community Affairs, the Office of the Attorney General and the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency met today with more than a dozen mayors of towns hard-hit by foreclosures to hear their concerns and discuss strategies and actions the state can take to assist them.
“New Jersey is caught in the national credit crisis, and towns across the state are experiencing record numbers of foreclosures,” said Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) Commissioner Steven M. Goldman. “We met with mayors and other elected officials today to talk about how we can help them and how we can develop a collaborative plan to get through this crisis together.”
The forum, held at the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency in Trenton, started off with each agency detailing its efforts over the last three years to address the growing credit crisis.
DOBI detailed its efforts including: taking swift enforcement actions against predatory lenders and lenders with financial or operational problems; working with DCA to establish the NJ Hope Alliance, a public-private partnership of state and federal agencies, non-profit groups, and financial institutions to work jointly on programs to educate and assist NJ homeowners at risk of foreclosure; increasing consumer education and financial literacy programs, and holding dozens of forums in communities across the state to provide information and direct help to state residents facing foreclosure.
"Governor Corzine has made a commitment to assisting those affected by the mortgage crisis," said DCA Commissioner Joseph V. Doria Jr. "We continue to work cooperatively with local officials to help New Jersey residents and to return homes that have already foreclosed over as affordable housing."
The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) listed its efforts including: providing funding for 15 counseling agencies across the state, training over 40 counselors in foreclosure prevention training, making available direct mortgage assistance funding for residents, and working with residents to refinance their mortgage in cases where they are dealing with adjusting mortgages that they can no longer afford.
"We are using these opportunities to meet with and talk to mayors and local officials so we can inform them of the variety of tools we have available to combat this problem," said Marge Della Vecchia, HMFA executive director. "We look forward to continued conversations and action on this issue."
Information was also provided to municipalities on how to apply for recently appropriated federal monies to rebuild neighborhoods and maintain adequate and affordable housing under the newly created Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is seeking action plans from the states under the new program. DCA will apply on behalf of the state through its Community Development Block Grant Program for the $51.4 million available to New Jersey through this initiative.
Representatives of the cities of Trenton, and Newark/Essex County Foreclosure Task Forces also talked about the work of their groups; areas where more help is needed, and foreclosure rescue scams they have experienced in their communities.
Commissioners Goldman, Doria and HMFA Executive Director Marge Della Vecchia also held a two-hour roundtable session with mayors to discuss local actions and possible next steps.
“It was a frank and open session,” said Goldman. “Clearly, a number of cities and towns are hurting as a result of the volume of foreclosures. We let them know we are here to help them and that working together we will get through these difficult times.”
Among those attending the session were the mayors of: Brick, Camden, East Orange, Edison, Elizabeth, Hamilton, Irvington, Jersey City, Newark, Old Bridge, Orange, Paterson, Perth Amboy, Trenton and Vineland.
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