Salem, OR – Oregon homeowners win big today with the passage of a bill that will offer long awaited foreclosure protections. The agreement came in the closing hours of this year’s legislative session, and was a direct result of tireless efforts by key legislators, consumer advocates and Oregon residents.
The bill, SB 1552 B, will provide an end to the current dual track system in which a homeowner is simultaneously negotiating for a loan modification while in active foreclosure. It will also implement a mandatory mediation program in Oregon, which is already used in 21 other states. Well-established mediation programs result in foreclosure avoidance rates upward of 50%.
“Today is a major step forward in holding banks accountable and finally ending our state’s foreclosure crisis,” said EFO Executive Director Angela Martin. “Credit must be given to the sponsors of this legislation, who persevered even when it seemed there was no hope of salvaging the bill.”
Although the legislation is based on SB 1552 and SB 1564, two bills that easily passed the Senate, the laws stalled under intense bank industry lobbying in the House until the final days of session.
Ginny Real, a Salem resident who lost her home of 24 years last July, was in the House chamber to watch the final vote. She participated in a pre-session press conference at which Senator Diane Rosenbaum and Representative Tina Kotek announced that the foreclosure bills were a key priority this session. Since then, Real has testified in support of the bills and personally visited with legislators to urge passage of foreclosure reform.
“My husband and I lost our home, and our life’s investment, because we trusted the information from our bank,” said Real. “Now that lawmakers have taken action, other Oregonians won’t face the same shame and frustration we did.”
The bill passed the House and was quickly moved to the Senate for a concurrence. It will now head to Governor John Kitzhaber.
“A week ago, it looked like these bills were going to fail. Passage of SB 1552 B is a testament to the power of leadership, determination and unyielding citizen advocacy,” said Martin. “Thanks to these protections, we can finally begin the long overdue process of rebuilding our community and economy.”
Source: Economic Fairness Oregon www.economicfairnessoregon.org