NCLR Urges California Lawmakers to Pass “Homeowner Bill of Rights”

June 01 2012


Joseph Rendeiro
(202) 776-1566

As Californians continue to struggle with record high foreclosures, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) urges the swift passage of the California “Homeowner Bill of Rights,” a set of proposed laws aimed at protecting California homeowners from unfair foreclosures. This week, the California State Senate and Assembly’s Conference Committee on Banking and Finance will vote on one crucial piece, the “dual track” bill, which will help prevent unnecessary foreclosures that are stalling California and the nation’s economic recovery.

“Latino families have borne the brunt of California’s devastating housing collapse, and it’s incredibly frightening to think that we are only halfway through the mortgage crisis,” said Delia de la Vara, Vice President of the California Region at NCLR. “We need lawmakers to put an end to unfair banking practices that are leaving families out on the street and, instead, give them a fair chance to save their homes from foreclosure.”

NCLR and its California Affiliates met with Senator Ron Calderon (D–Montebello), a member of the conference committee, to share stories of families who have lost their homes to foreclosure as a result of being dual tracked. Dual tracking is a common bank practice of moving a homeowner through both the foreclosure and loan modification processes at the same time, causing many borrowers to lose their homes to foreclosure even though they are still being considered for a loan modification.

“Homeowners playing by the rules should be given a fair chance to secure a loan modification,” said Senator Ron Calderon. “I am committed to crafting a bill that puts an end to dual track and includes a strong enforcement mechanism, such as giving victims the right to sue, to ensure that families do not continue to fall through the cracks.”

Despite the fact that HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program)—the Obama administration’s signature foreclosure prevention program—and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have established rules to end this practice, many banks still dual track customers.

“The families we represent are honest, hardworking people, seeking assistance that will allow them to continue making payments and stay in their homes,” said Maria Cabildo, President of the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC). “Many of the clients we work with have experienced lost paperwork on behalf of the lender, violations of existing dual track rules, and constant solicitation from scam artists. Lenders need to be held accountable and provide families a fair process where they can apply for assistance.”

NCLR believes that every foreclosure costs taxpayers, local governments and the state economy money—the ones that can and should be prevented must be stopped.

“There are far greater consequences than the actual cost of a foreclosure for hardworking families,” said Robert Monzon, President and CEO at the Montebello Housing Development Corporation (MHDC). “We are seeing an increasing number of clients who suffer from stress and health issues due to the foreclosure process, clients who are now separated or divorced from their spouses, as well as grades dropping for children faced with this situation. Passing this bill will alleviate some of that stress for clients by halting the foreclosure process until the loan modification is considered.” MHDC and ELACC have each provided counseling to more than 3,000 families within Senator Ron Calderon’s district since the beginning of the housing crisis.

NCLR and its California Affiliates applaud Senator Ron Calderon for his commitment to passing a bill with strong enforcement mechanisms to put an end to the dual track process once and for all.


Geography:California, Far West, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Texas