California lawmakers revive bill that would kill dual-track foreclosures
Two California lawmakers are moving ahead with a bill that would prevent servicers in the Golden State from foreclosing on homes when the borrower is in the process of applying for a loan modification. In the legislation, state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) attack dual-track foreclosures, which allow servicers to continue the foreclosure process while the borrower is waiting to hear back on a loan modification application. The problem, the senators say, is by the time a loan modification is approved or rejected, the foreclosure process has already begun, making it nearly impossible to stop. "Banks should not foreclose on a family's home until they inform the owner whether the loan can be modified to an affordable level," said Sen. Leno. "California homeowners who qualify for modifications should get them – not a foreclosure notice." The senators' new bill — SB 1275 — would essentially require a servicer to evaluate a borrower's loan modification application and give the borrower an answer before launching into the foreclosure process. A similar bill passed the California Senate last year before failing in the Assembly. In 2010, about 305,000 California borrowers received default notices and approximately 170,000 families experienced foreclosures. California lawmakers have been questioning foreclosures in the state for the past year. In October, California House Democrats asked federal regulators to investigate how servicers and banks are handling loan mods and foreclosures. Write to Kerri Panchuk.