Oregon homeowner voices support for critical mortgage reform

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Tim Collette speaks out in support of SB 826 & 827, two bills that would reform mortgage service to establish fair rules and accountability and give homeowners a fighting chance to stop preventable foreclosures. To support SB826 & 827, visit Economic Fairness Oregon’s petition.

For at least the next few weeks, I am a homeowner in Bend. My home, which I purchased nearly five years ago, is in foreclosure with a sale date of April 11th – five days after my 59th birthday. Just like so many other Oregonians, I was also able to easily make my mortgage payments when I bought my home. I moved to Bend because I was in the construction business, and for many years, it was the epicenter of that industry in the Northwest. In every respect, I was in a good place. I had plenty in retirement and savings and a mortgage payment that was perfectly reasonable given my income.

But when the economy crashed, so did my once-booming business. When it became clear that the market downturn showed no signs of reversing, I called my mortgage servicer, Chase. That began the intensely frustrating process of trying to modify my mortgage. Chase lost my paperwork several times. Sometimes they got part of it. They never told me if they got it or not, I had to call and check. Just about every time I’d call I’d get someone different and have to explain everything from the very beginning. This back and forth and piles of documents and hours of headaches may have been worth it if I had gotten some result. But I got nothing.

I’ve tried everything I can to save my house. I’ve drained my retirement and my savings. I don’t even have the money to pay for a small apartment. Instead, I plan to move in with a friend if and when Chase takes my home. So now, instead of a few years from retirement, I am starting over.

Federal programs aren’t working. In fact, the Feds are subsidizing the banks with our taxpayer money – essentially paying them to take our homes. Chain of title laws are being ignored. Local legislation is the best solution because every state is different. Local is more effective and efficient. And when we enact these laws, we need to put some teeth in them. The major problem with federal programs is that they dangled a carrot in front of banks to try and persuade them to modify mortgages. Heck, it was just one of those little baby carrots. It’s no wonder that didn’t work. Only when it becomes more costly to break the law than to abide by it will we see banks change.

These are just some of the many reasons I support SB 826 & 827. To me, one of the most important provisions this legislation would provide is the end of the dual track process. That’s when banks tell a homeowner they’ll work with them to modify a mortgage, but put them in active foreclosure at the same time. Banks don’t modify 96% of mortgages, but they keep collecting trial modification payments while homeowners move closer and closer to foreclosure. Then, the homeowner is left with no home, and no cushion – I am a prime example of that.

I’ve worked hard since I was 12 years old and I’ve had my hard earned American Dream taken away. It may be too late for me, but please join me in calling on our leaders to pass these laws to protect our fellow Oregonians from the same fate.

Homeowners Support Oregon Mortgage and Foreclosure Bills from Economic Fairness Oregon on Vimeo.


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