Under New Foreclosure Law, Lenders Giving Families Day in Court

Following Fannie Mae's lead, Freddie Mac has just announced that it, too, will convert all non-judicial foreclosures to judicial and file all future foreclosures judicial. Both Fannie and Freddie (the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, the two largest buyers of home mortgages on the secondary market) have made these Hawaii-specific announcements and, though Mapquest tells me that Fannie Mae's office is just six miles away from Capitol Hill, neither of these government sponsored enterprises discussed these major policy changes with Hawaii's congressional delegation before making them public.

The Hawaii state legislature held a three-hour briefing on Act 48, Hawaii's new mortgage foreclosure prevention law, last week which featured presentations from more than a dozen of the key players carrying out and working with Act 48, from the Hawaii Bankers Association to the courts, to my own organization where I am a volunteer, Faith Action for Community Equity. The overwhelming perspective from the legislators and presenters was that the law is on track, the mediation program is developing according to its prescribed timeline and while Fannie Mae's conversion announcement requires some attention, it in no way derails Act 48.

In fact, Act 48 is on its way to providing exactly what it was intended to provide: the elimination of a major loophole in Hawaii's non-judicial foreclosure laws that gives Hawaii's families the opportunity to meet their lender or mortgage servicer face to face to plead their case before any foreclosure can proceed, whether that is in foreclosure mediation or in court through a judicial foreclosure.

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