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New Jersey Department
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DOBI announces public forums, education plan to address mortgage lending issues
TRENTON – The Department of Banking and Insurance today announced a series of measures designed to address recent difficulties experienced by New Jersey residents in relation to their home mortgages, including skyrocketing mortgage payments due to resetting adjustable rate mortgages and threats of foreclosure.
DOBI, hosted by local mayors, will conduct a series of community forums throughout the state to offer information and direction to homeowners who have or may have recently experienced difficulty in making their mortgage payments. DOBI is also working with the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA), a state agency that makes below market-rate mortgages for first-time and urban home buyers, and distributes federal tax credits to promote the construction of low-income housing.
In partnership with the financial services industry, DOBI and HMFA are promoting efforts to provide homeowners with affordable mortgage products, closing cost assistance, debt adjustment services, and credit counseling. The two state agencies have coordinated resources for consumers, including cross-linking of Web sites and programs regarding available refinancing, homelessness prevention, credit counseling and debt adjustment.
DOBI has set up a toll-free hotline (1-800-446-7467) to offer guidance and has enhanced its online resources (www.njdobi.org) to include licensed debt adjusters and credit counselors. The Department has also published a brochure, “A Homeowner’s Guide to Subprime,” for distribution throughout New Jersey to state and local governmental offices and assistance organizations. The brochure is also available via the DOBI Web site. (For more information...)
“Homeownership is the American dream, but for those who have bought into unconventional mortgage products and have seen their mortgage payment increase to an untenable level, it has quickly become a nightmare,” said DOBI Commissioner Steven M. Goldman. “Educating and informing the public is the best defense against business arrangements with potentially catastrophic consequences. That’s what this consumer education campaign is all about.”
Each forum will include information from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) certified debt adjusters and credit counselors, mortgage bankers, and mortgage servicers. Representatives from additional agencies, as well as DOBI staff, will be available to discuss potential options with homeowners and address such topics as how to spot and avoid “foreclosure prevention” scams.
All forums are scheduled from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. For additional information on the forums, consumers can call the DOBI Office of Public Affairs at (609) 292-5064.
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State of New Jersey
New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance