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Thursday, April 09, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - Still more on bill proposing changes to the 2009 mortgage settlement conference law

Updating this most recent ILB post on SB 415, from March 13th, John Russell of the Indianapolis Star reports today:

A program that has helped thousands of distressed Hoosiers save their houses will remain in place after all.

An Indiana House panel has voted to kill a controversial amendment that would have sharply curtailed the loan-modification program. * * *

The Indiana Mortgage Bankers Association had pushed hard for the amendment, saying Indiana is one of the nation's slowest states in completing foreclosures, or about 610 days on average.

The controversial amendment would have exempted large banks, which account for the vast majority of mortgages issued in Indiana, from complying with the state-required mortgage settlement conferences.

The Mortgage Bankers Association argued that homeowners are already protected by a federal law, the Dodd-Frank Reform and Consumer Protection Act, that went into effect a year after the Indiana program. The bankers said it was pointless, expensive and time-consuming to have two separate laws, one state and one federal, pertaining to consumer rights during foreclosures.

But housing advocates and consumer groups said the federal law did not offer as many protections and did not include court-supervised settlement conferences.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller pushed hard in recent weeks to kill the controversial amendment and keep the state program, saying homeowners needed the protection. He testified last week before the House Local Government Committee to keep the law intact.

The controversial amendment supported by the bankers was tacked onto Senate Bill 415, a bill that deals with the tax sale process and a registry for vacant and abandoned properties. It sailed through the Senate on a 50-0 vote.

The House Local Government Committee voted April 2 to kill the amendment and keep the state program as is. The bill is likely to be presented to the House in coming days.

Sen. James Merritt, R-Indianapolis, the author of the bill, said he did not fight to keep the controversial amendment and would concur with the House action when the bill returns to the Senate.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 9, 2015 10:03 AM
Posted to Indiana Government