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Archive for the ‘Foreclosure Mediation’ Category

Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program to Use HLP Online Portal to Administer Program

Nicole Wilmet, June 29th, 2018

In August, we reported that the Nevada legislature revived the state’s foreclosure mediation program by passing Senate Bill 490. One of the most notable changes Senate Bill 490 brought to the program included the transfer of program management duties from the Nevada Supreme Court to the Nevada District Courts and Home Means Nevada, Inc., a state affiliated non-profit that was created to address challenges and needs of distressed homeowners. As Home Means Nevada describes, under this new structure when an individual receives notice of default, they will then petition the District Court to participate in mediation. The District Court will then assign a mediator to mediate the case and Home Means Nevada will work closely with the courts and mediators to ensure a successful program.

This month, Home Means Nevada announced that it has selected Hope LoanPort’s® (HLP) web-based platform as the designated channel to administer the program. Founded in 2009, HLP was initially created to help solve the foreclosure crisis by developing a web portal where non-profit credit counseling agencies, attorneys and homeowners could apply for a loan modification or other solution. Today, the HLP platform has become a one-stop shop for homeowners nationwide to send documents to their mortgage companies. As Business Wire reports, the HLP portal will be the designated channel through which Home Means Nevada will administer the foreclosure program. As United Trustees Association reports, the HLP portal will streamline the document sharing process and will afford parties the opportunity to see and receive updates for their case in real time.

The HLP platform will be implemented in several stages with the first phase scheduled to launch July 1, 2018. The HLP Nevada Foreclosure Mediation page can be accessed here and contains updates, information on registering, and access to HLP platform training for counselors, servicers, and attorneys.

Rhode Island and Connecticut May Soon Be Without Foreclosure Mediation Policies if Legislature Intervention is Unsuccessful

Nicole Wilmet, June 6th, 2018

The future of both Rhode Island and Connecticut’s foreclosure mediation policies are currently in the hands of their respective state legislatures. Both states have sunset provisions looming on the horizon with the Rhode Island Foreclosure Mediation Act set to end on July 1, 2018 and Connecticut’s foreclosure mediation program set to end June 30, 2019.

Enacted in 2013, the Rhode Island’s Foreclosure Mediation Act grants homeowners who face foreclosure the opportunity to meet with their lender and an independent mediator to try to work out a solution to avoid foreclosure. According to the Providence Journal, since 2013 the Foreclosure Mediation Act has helped 679 families stay in their homes. In an effort to keep foreclosure mediation, earlier this year, Sen. Elizabeth Crowley, Sen. Paul Jabour, Sen. Harold Metts, and Sen. Ana Quezada sponsored a Senate’s version of the bill that would extend the sunset provision to July 1, 2023. In the House, Rep. Susan Donovan, Rep. Raymond Johnston, Rep. Mary Messier, and Rep. Michael Morin sponsored the House version of the bill that would repeal the sunset provision entirely. Currently, the Senate voted and passed their version of the bill on May 23, 2018, but the House Judiciary Committee recommended earlier this month that their version of the bill be held for further study.

The Connecticut legislature is also working to extend the life of their state’s foreclosure mediation program. The Connecticut foreclosure mediation program began in 2008. As this article from the Hartford Courant highlights, between the program’s inception on July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2017, the program has heard 27,958 cases. Of these cases 70% resulted in borrowers staying in their homes, 16% reached agreements for a short sale or other measure, and only 14% did not settle. Like the bills in Rhode Island, there are two versions of an act that would either extend or eliminate the sunset provision making their way through the Connecticut legislature. Both versions of the bill are sponsored by the House of Representatives Banking Committee with the most notable difference between the two bills being the treatment of the sunset provision. The House version of the bill the bill would eradicate the sunset provision for the program entirely whereas the Senate version would extend the sunset provision to December 31, 2019.  Given that the sunset provision doesn’t expire until 2019, the Connecticut legislature has more time to save their foreclosure mediation program than Rhode Island.

Foreclosure Mediation Saves 1,000 Homes in Illinois

Eric Slepak, June 1st, 2018

In compiling the latest statistical report for the eight foreclosure mediation programs funded by the Illinois Attorney General, RSI discovered that, as of last year, the programs helped over 1,000 Illinois homeowners stay in their homes. That’s a tremendous accomplishment and much is owed to the talented program staff that administer these programs, the neutrals who mediate these cases, the housing counselors and legal aid attorneys who advise the homeowners, and the Office of the Attorney General whose belief in the power of mediation made this all possible.

About a quarter of the cases, and 5% of the total foreclosure filings, end in retention. While that might not sound like much, it’s worth bearing in mind that in many instances, there is a significant power imbalance between the homeowner and their lender. That fact makes it quite possible that without the guidance provided by the housing counselors and attorneys, and the channels of dialogue between borrower and lender opened by the program staff and mediators, these homeowners would have very little chance of prevailing in the traditional judicial foreclosure process. Therefore, a retention rate of that magnitude is a tremendous victory. (more…)

Getting the Story Right with Data to Make the Right Decisions

Jennifer Shack, October 20th, 2016

I’m a data geek. I love poring over data and running analyses to see what story unfolds. On the national level, data can tell us the story of our rise as an industrial power and how that changed how people lived and worked. On a local level, it can tell the story of how the closing of a factory affects the fabric of a community and the institutions that bind it. For foreclosure mediation programs, the data can tell the story of how homeowners are affected by changes to the program. Thus, I was eager to find out how changes to the court rules in the 19th Judicial Circuit of Illinois at the beginning of this year would play out. What story would the data tell? (more…)

Designing Access Part Three: Transitions, Continuity and Communication

Hanna Kaufman, August 19th, 2016

Welcome to the final blog post in a series showcasing how RSI uses our expertise in dispute system design to improve access to justice in the three foreclosure mediation programs we administer. If you’re wondering how this series came to be, check out my introduction to the series, as well as the posts highlighting our work in the 19th and 17th Judicial Circuits of Illinois.

This last post will look a little bit different than I anticipated, in large part because it will also be my final post as RSI’s Director of ADR Programs before I take on a new position as Counsel for Innovation and Technology at the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois. In my upcoming role, I will continue to work to promote access to justice, this time focusing on using technology and process improvement in the legal aid context. As you might imagine, transitions and continuity have been on my mind quite a lot, especially because of how close RSI’s programs are to my heart and how passionately I feel about their ongoing success.

At RSI, we think carefully about transitions and work hard to promote continuity during times of change. Current Resource Center Director Eric Slepak will begin his tenure as Director of ADR Programs after I leave today, and the two of us have been working closely together over the past two months to minimize the impact of this transition on our programs. RSI is lucky to have Eric, and I know the programs at RSI will be in great hands.

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