MA Division of Banks Awards $1.3 Million for Foreclosure Prevention Counseling

In May, 2015, the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation’s Division of Banks (DOB) awarded $1.3 Million in grants to 11 regional foreclosure prevention centers and 10 individual first-time homeownership education centers across Massachusetts. For a list of the grantees and the awards, see the Office of Consumer Affairs website.

The awards are made under Chapter 206 of the Acts of 2007, a law enacted as the foreclosure crisis was gaining steam, with MACDC and its members instrumental in drafting and passing the legislation. Among other things, it regulates non-bank mortgage lenders for the first time, and uses the licensing fees from mortgage originators to fund the foreclosure prevention counseling awards. Over the past three years, DOB has provided more than $4 Million for foreclosure prevention counseling and homebuyer education.

MACDC Members are so effective at providing these services that 13 of the 21 awards were made to MACDC Members or to coalitions including MACDC Members. In fact, over a three year period ending in December 2014, MACDC members provided foreclosure prevention counseling to almost 12,000 households, and close to 4,600 of these households achieved a positive outcome.

MACDC continues to engage the Division of Banks, on behalf of our members and their low- and moderate-income constituents who still face challenges in buying and preserving their homes.  We met with DOB in November 2014 to talk about the need for ongoing support for both foreclosure prevention and homebuyer education. Clearly, DOB listened to the concerns of MACDC and other stakeholders as they developed the specifics of the program.

Unfortunately, the foreclosure crisis is not abating as fast as many had hoped.  Foreclosure petitions in the Bay State, the first step in the foreclosure process, continued to climb in March, posting a 68 percent increase compared with March 2014, according to a new report from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman. This marked the 13th consecutive month of increases in petition filings.

MACDC will continue to support our members, as they strive to help current homeowners preserve their homes and provide future homeowners with the tools for enjoying sustainable homeownership. MACDC is currently advocating with the Legislature to make sure the program is fully funded again in Fiscal Year 2016.

For more information on this, please contact Don Bianchi at donb@macdc.org.