New Hotline for Consumers, Direct Contacts at Mortgage Lenders
CONCORD, NH – December 5, 2007 – Gov. John Lynch and Banking Commissioner Peter C. Hildreth today announced that the Banking Department has established a new consumer hotline and a new requirement that state-licensed mortgage lenders designate a person to help consumers address potential mortgage problems.
“Many New Hampshire families are seeing their dreams of home ownership jeopardized. The increasing number of foreclosures, caused in part by questionable loan practices, is hurting many of our families,” Gov. Lynch said. “We want to make sure the State of New Hampshire is doing everything possible to help and protect consumers. The Banking Department’s hotline gives consumers a place to turn with questions, and the new consumer contacts will make it easier for consumers to work with their mortgage companies to find solutions.”
To help consumers with mortgage problems:
- The New Hampshire Banking Department has established a Hotline to assist consumers who have concerns about their mortgages or who are facing imminent foreclosure. The Hotline number is 1-800-437-5991, and will be answered by Department staff between 8 a.m. and 4:30 pm. Messages received after hours will be returned the next business day.
- Banking Commissioner Peter C. Hildreth has signed an order requiring every New Hampshire-licensed mortgage lender and servicer to designate a direct contact that the Department, and consumers, can speak with directly about options.
- Banking Commissioner Peter C. Hildreth has signed an order requiring mortgage lenders and brokers to be clearer about their standards for subprime loans and the risks that borrowers may assume. This order seeks to ensure consistent regulation of the mortgage market and will be an important tool for the Banking Department to protect consumers in the subprime lending market.
- The New Hampshire Banking Department is continuing to hold Consumer Outreach sessions around the state where Banking Department staff review consumers’ mortgage documents and answer questions that New Hampshire citizens may have about upcoming changes in their payments. The next session will be held at the Senior Center in Lebanon on Dec. 13, from 4 to 8 p.m. Concerned borrowers are also encouraged to bring their documents to the Banking Department’s Concord office at any time.
Earlier this year, Gov. Lynch signed House Bill 365 into law, which aims to better protect borrowers from foreclosure rescue scams.
This new law aims to protect homeowners from losing their homes – and the valuable equity they have built into their homes – to foreclosure rescue scams. It imposes new standards on pre-foreclosure sales, requires greater disclosure from foreclosure consulting companies and it creates stiff penalties for those who take advantage of homeowners. The penalties include fines, jail time and repayment of equity to the homeowner.