Ever since Wells Fargo — one of the principal actors in the housing market collapse – came to our city last fall, we’ve been talking about how predatory lending policies have devastated our city.
By utilizing subprime mortgages, targeting minority communities, and processing applications with robo-signing, big banks have created a situation that will take years to fix. According to a recent report, 1 in 11 Maryland children directly affected by foreclosure.
However, over the last several months we’ve — along with groups like the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition — been working on solutions to hold banks accountable and improve the lives of people in our community. Thanks to our efforts, we’ve produced some tangible results in Annapolis.
During this session, the Maryland state legislature has passed some key legislation to help consumers. Here are some of the highlights:
- Foreclosure Reform — The Maryland General Assembly passed key legislation that will improve Maryland’s foreclosure mediation process. By allowing homeowners to file for mediation prior to defaulting and by creating a registry for foreclosed properties, Marylanders will have a better chance of staying in their homes. In addition, regulators and enforcers will know who’s responsible for vacant homes.
- Mortgage Debt Relief – According to our friends at MCRC, a “new law ensures that Marylanders who lose their homes to foreclosure or short sales won’t be taxed on any mortgage balances that were written down in the process. Without this bill, those balances could count as taxable income, and that would cost families tax benefits, push people into higher tax brackets, and leave families who have already lost their homes facing tax bills they can’t pay.”
- Closing Tax Loopholes — The Maryland General Assembly also passed legislation that will stop banks from taking advantage of the Homestead property tax credits, which belonged to homeowners, when taking over a foreclosed property. This allows counties and towns to collect full property tax revenues from banks and help close budget shortfalls.
If you’d like to pledge your support, please sign our petition. Let’s show the big banks that people are in favor of helping families stay in their homes.