Baltimore – Secretary Skinner urged Maryland lenders to continue to work in partnership with the state to help financially troubled families either save their homes until they get back on their feet or find a dignified exit.
The secretary on Tuesday joined Governor O’Malley and interim Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Scott Jensen in a dialogue with representatives of 10 loan servicers, the Maryland Bankers Association and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The meeting was part of an ongoing partnership between the O’Malley-Brown administration and the state’s financial community as Maryland searches for the most effective strategies to help hardworking families rebound from the effects of the foreclosure crisis that followed the collapse of the national housing market in 2007.
For example, lenders were members of the governor’s foreclosure task force that released its final report on Jan. 12. Governor O’Malley has convened three panels since 2007, as the state’s ever-evolving crisis moved from homeowners trapped in predatory subprime loans to homeowners caught in the prolonged economic downturn.
The panel’s recommendations for new legislation became law this spring, including a measure that introduces the option of foreclosure mediation earlier in the process; the creation of e a centralized foreclosed property registry and a tax credit for people who buy a foreclosed property as their principal residence.
At the meeting Tuesday, Secretary Skinner asked lenders to help implement some of the industry best practices recommended by the task force, including increased use of loan modification and refinance options and the training of nonprofit housing counselors and legal service advisors so that they can help homeowners best understand their options.