What’s up with the legislators supporting banks instead of homeowners?

Several weeks ago the bill SB 6648 was turned down by the Washington State House. This bill would have given homeowners a second chance to avoid foreclosure. Lenders would have been required to participate in a mediation to evaluate if there is an affordable and sustainable means to keeping the home, as opposed to selling the home at an auction sale. Reasonable criteria would have been established and lenders would have been required to implement modifications under the current FDIC programs. Moreover, banks would have been mandated to create a fair and open process that would have benefited both, the lenders and homeowners.

Bank balancing on the rotunda of the Capitol in OlympiaIn other words, homeowners currently in foreclosure and heading into foreclosure sale would have been given a second chance to keep their homes. The lenders, on the other hand, would have been able to get an expedited process to help mitigate their losses in addition to mitigating expenses related to foreclosure which can amount up to $70,000 in fees per foreclosure sale. Banks end up buying these properties and selling them at a discounted price, which translates into more losses for the investor and a trickle down effect on the value of properties around neighborhoods.

Seems to me the only way that homeowners are going to get a fair shake in Olympia is to organize and march on Olympia’s doorsteps.

Album cover of Martin Gaye's legendary "What's Going On"As Marvin Gaye would say, what is going on? So the bill didn’t pass. I guess what bothers me is that the bill, which made it out of the house and earned much publicity, was silently turned down by three democrats who shall remain nameless. But let’s face it; we all know their names and you can easily find out by going into the legislature’s website. It sounds like a bit of hypocrisy to me.

So why was the bill turned down? Could it be that banks believed that the filing fee incurred to mediate homeowners in risk of foreclosure is more costly to them than losing a family’s home? Isn’t this how the American dream suddenly became the American nightmare? In the beginning of the mortgage crisis most homeowners, lenders, and even Wall Street were in denial thinking this is not happening to me, it’s not affecting me; but eventually in the end We All Fall Down. In a nutshell, the crisis reached its all-time high and the results trickled down to the economy.

Now the men and women who represent us in Olympia have the chance to slow the 130,000 homes that are said to be foreclosed upon in Washington State in the next three years and what do they do? They passed on an opportunity to give homeowners a second chance.

I was present at the official senate meeting on January 28, 2010 and even testified as to my experience counseling families who are struggling to stay in their homes. When certain organizations,  such as NW Trustee Service and firms representing Washington Bankers Association, showed up to oppose the bill, only Sen. Adam Kline, who sponsored the bill, stood up to protect the best interest of the common people. So I guess folks, as my grandmother used to say, it is what it is and it ain’t what ain’t. If we want change, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. So in other words, we need to voice our concerns and stand up and be counted.

One Response

  1. I totally adhere to your cause Marcola. Great Article, I wish more people spoke up about the issue.

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