Last week, the Washington state “Foreclosure Fairness Act” was signed into law, marking a major victory in a long, multi-year fight by advocates for low-income borrowers, including the Statewide Poverty Action Network and Washington Community Action Network (an Alliance affiliate.)
The new law, which will go into effect on July 13,will:
- Create a foreclosure mediation process that homeowners can access through a housing counselor or an attorney;
- Create funding to more than triple the number of housing counselors;
- Require lenders to conduct a good faith review of the borrower’s financial situation and offer a loan modification or other option if the borrower is eligible;
- Make violations of these new requirements punishable under the Consumer Protection Act
- Immediately create the foreclosure fairness account, into which a $250 fee will be paid by banks for each default notice they issue.
SPAN, the lead policy organization in this fight, has been at the forefront of predatory lending issues for years in Washington State. They have lobbied and worked extensively with in the Capitol walls for this victory. Washing CAN! has played been strong external force, leading community actions and lawmaker meetings demanding foreclosure protections and showing the devastating effects of corporate bank policies.