Committee Passes Singleton, Rice, Oroho Bills To Help Homeowners With Mortgages

Trenton – Two pieces of legislation sponsored by Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee Chair Troy Singleton, Senator Ronald L. Rice, and Senator Steve Oroho, which would codify the Judiciary’s Foreclosure Mediation Program and the “Mortgage Servicers Licensing Act”, were passed by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.

It is incomprehensible that a decade after the housing bubble burst, there are homeowners in New Jersey facing foreclosure,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “By improving access to foreclosure mediation programs, we will make more homeowners aware of their eligibility to participate and hopefully keep them in the homes they have worked so hard for.”

“By creating more venues in which homeowners can cure defaulted mortgages through the promotion of the mediation program, the state can significantly reduce its foreclosure numbers,” said Senator Rice (D-Essex). “The legislation seeks to strengthen the mediation program by promoting remedy options to those homeowners in the initial stages of the foreclosure process.”

“Far too many residents have fallen victim to mortgage servicers who engage in predatory practices, such as charging outrageously high fees, or illegal loan collections. Until we take action to ensure these companies are licensed and held accountable by the state, more people will continue to suffer needlessly,” Senator Oroho (R-24) said. “This bill is part of a larger bipartisan effort to make our foreclosure system more just and efficient for all. For the sake of the many homeowners who are struggling right now, I hope to see our whole bill package advance in the near future.”

The first bill, S-1244, would codify the Judiciary’s Foreclosure Mediation Program, and would dedicate funds from foreclosure filing fees and fines. The bill was released from committee by a vote of 10-0-2, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.

The second bill, S-3417, entitled the “Mortgage Servicers Licensing Act,” would require any person acting as a mortgage servicer to obtain a license from the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance for each main office and each branch office where business is conducted. The commissioner would issue a mortgage servicer license to an applicant if the commissioner makes certain findings, including that the applicant has met certain financial, character and mental fitness requirements. The bill was released from committee by a vote of 12-0, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.

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