AG supports bill that helps homeowners

RALEIGH Cooper met with lawmakers Tuesday morning to lend his support to a new bill that will give homeowners a break.

People often lose their houses without ever speaking with their bank.

"Oftentimes when you have a foreclosure, the lender and borrower have never talked," Cooper said. "And often the borrower tries to find someone to talk to and can't."

A state House committee is considering a bill designed to make the difficult and painful foreclosure process a little easier to manage.

Under the Consumer Economic Protection Act of 2009, people who are on the cusp of losing their home and their lender would get a chance to voluntarily work out foreclosure.

There are two key elements to the proposed act.

The act would force creditors to prove they tried to resolve delinquent mortgages before filing for foreclosure. Second, clerks of court handling foreclosure hearings would have discretion to give lenders and borrowers an extra 60 days to try and work out payment plans.

"We believe this legislation will help reduce foreclosures and in return help the economy, help neighborhoods and help families stay in their homes," Cooper said.

The goal is to keep more people in their homes.

However, some lawmakers worry the bill as written might make it almost too hard to foreclose on someone.

"If the procedures are such that foreclosure becomes impossible or so onerous that a lender just doesn't want to go through it, you just won't get a loan," Representative Paul Stam of Apex said.

A version of the bill has already passed the state Senate. Supporters believe it is likely to get out of the House and eventually become law.

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