California homeowners and advocates ask state legislators “Whose Side Are You On”, Vote on foreclosure prevention legislation next week

June 6, 2012– Over 70 California community groups, labor unions, and advocates have sent a letter to California’s Assembly members and Senators asking them “Whose Side Are You On: Banks or Homeowners?”. This week, members of the Joint Legislative Conference Committee on Foreclosure Issues will be voting on important legislation that will create protections and strengthen due process for California’s homeowners. The legislation could effectively end bank practices that have led to wrongful and unnecessary foreclosures for California homeowners who are struggling to negotiate a modification with their bank.

California’s homeowners and advocates are calling for strong legislation that:
• Ends “dual track” by requiring banks to provide a “yes” or “no” answer on a modification application before proceeding with foreclosure, and to halt the process if a borrowers completes a loan modification application after the process has begun,
• Holds banks accountable by allowing homeowners to take banks to court when they violate the law (“private right of action”),
• Obliges banks to show they actually have the right to foreclose by documenting the chain of title,
• Allows homeowners who have been illegally foreclosed upon to get their homes back, and
• Refuses to provide loopholes or carve outs from responsibility for big banks who settled with the Attorney General over allegations of foreclosure abuses.

Nearly 2 million Californians have lost their homes since 2008, and another 2.3 million are underwater on their mortgages. Responsible homeowners are being lost in bank’s foreclosure mills and wrongfully losing their homes. Meanwhile, banks have spent over $70 million lobbying in Sacramento, as they evade taxes and foreclose on struggling homeowners. The National Mortgage Settlement was a good first step to stopping wrongful and unfair practices, but the new policies only apply to the five big banks, and not to the many other institutions that service or own home loans in California.

The Joint Legislative Conference Committee—consisting of State Senators Noreen Evans, Ron Calderon, and Sam Blakeslee, and Assemblymembers Mike Eng, Donald Wagner, and Mike Feuer—should act immediately to vote in favor of legislation that ends “dual track”, institutes a strong private right of action, and strengthens due process for homeowners. The vote is currently planned for Monday, June 11th.

These Senators and Assemblymembers represent a variety of hard hit communities in Los Angeles, the Central Coast, and the Bay Area, who continue to lose their homes. By voting for this legislation, they will send a clear signal to their constituents: We are on your side!

California homeowners have waited long enough. We need this legislation now.

California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC), Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), & PICO California