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

The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation’s Division of Banks (DOB) announced recently that it has awarded $1.3 Million in grants to 11 regional foreclosure prevention centers and 8 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 and homeownership education awards.  Over the past three years, DOB has provided more than $4 Million for foreclosure prevention counseling and homebuyer education.

Thirteen of the 19 awards were made to MACDC Members or to coalitions including MACDC Members. In fact, over a five year period ending in December, 2015, MACDC Members have helped close to 6,700 households facing foreclosure secure a loan modification or other positive outcome.

Unfortunately, foreclosures continue unabated.  Foreclosure petitions in the Bay State, the first step in the foreclosure process, continued to climb, according to a report from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.  In the first three months of 2016, lenders filed 3,367 petitions to foreclose statewide, a 30% increase from the 2,594 petitions filed in the first three months of 2015. During the same time period, completed foreclosures increased by 60% from the first three months of 2015.

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 increase in the amount of revenue from mortgage originator fees the DOB is allowed to retain, so DOB can increase the awards to fully fund the counseling agencies at $2 million in 2017. This would enable DOB to provide the funding level originally authorized in the 2007 legislation.

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