A new bill winding through the North Carolina state Senate would require mortgage servicers to pay a fee and notify borrowers of available resources before proceeding with a foreclosure. The bill is sponsored by state Sen. Dan Blue (D-Wake County). Under it, servicers notify the borrower of options to work with the lender toward an alternative to foreclosure, contact information to counseling agencies and consumer compliant offices, and an itemization of all past due amounts and charges needed to be paid. The servicer will also be required to notify the borrower 45 days before starting the foreclosure process. The servicer must also file within three business after notifying the borrower of foreclosure alternatives, an electronic form containing borrower information and the due date of the last scheduled payment made. When filing this form, the servicer must pay a $75 fee to the state Home Foreclosure Prevent Trust Fund, which is also created under the bill. Money from the fund would go toward developing projects to seek alternatives to foreclosures. The fund would provide $3.4m in grants to reimburse nonprofit housing counseling agencies and additional money to nonprofit legal service providers to troubled borrowers. The bill still needs final approval from the Senate and must be passed by the state House of Representatives. According to RealtyTrac, North Carolina holds the 20th lowest foreclosure rate in the country. There, one in 964 homes received a foreclosure filing in May. Lawmakers in California are also considering a slew of foreclosure mediation bills. Write to Jon Prior.

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