Get Up, Stand Up!

While the budget crisis has gotten most of the press from the 2011 legislative session in Olympia, there are also some important bills that need your support to give homeowners facing foreclosure a fair chance at staying in their homes, and to bolster protections against predatory lending that were passed last year.

Foreclosure Fairness Act
Our housing counselors report that one of the biggest barriers faced by homeowners threatened with foreclosure is the extreme difficulty of getting whoever owns the loan to discuss modification options. What used to take a few phone calls and a few hours to work out can now stretch out over months of calls, and many forms of delay. This brief video on the Foreclosure Fairness Act dramatizes how consumers are being stonewalled. Please check it out and post the link on Facebook and other social networks to attract attention to the issue!

The Foreclosure Fairness Act (SB 5275 and HB1362) would mandate that banks, or whoever holds the loan, must offer face-to-face mediation with homeowners. In the 23 states and municipalities that have mandatory mediation, 60% of homeowners in foreclosure are able to stay in their homes! The banking industry is trying to strip the mandatory mediation out of the bill, which will take away its most important tool. Please contact your state Senator and Representatives and urge them to support the Foreclosure Fairness Act and to keep mandatory mediation in the bill!

You can use this web form to email your legislators in support of the Foreclosure Fairness Act.

Keep Protections against Predatory Lending
Last year the Legislature enacted law to protect Washington State residents from predatory lending. This year the banking industry is fighting back with two bills that would strip away crucial consumer protections. Please contact your lawmakers and urge them to oppose these bills: HB 1678 and SB 5547.

You can use this web form to email your legislators to oppose gutting protections against predatory lending.

To find out who your Senator and Representatives are, go to Statewide Poverty Action Network and look for the zip code tool on the top of the page.

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New law protects consumers from payday lenders

Cool: New legislation in WA state goes into effect January 1, 2009 thatsign calling for the state Legislature to "Stop Predatory Lending" increases protection for consumers of payday loans. Read about it in the Seattle Times.

While the law, passed last year with the encouragement of Solid Ground’s Statewide Poverty Action Network, does not go as far as advocates had initially wished, it is groundbreaking progress in reining in an industry that has mined poor people to make enormous profits. Advocates plan to monitor implementation and impact of the new law before bringing additional proposals to Olympia.

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