The law would not only strengthen existing requirements that banks meet with borrowers who are severely delinquent on their home loan payments, but it would also increase the number of housing counselors in the state, according to a report from the Vancouver, Washington, newspaper the Columbian. The bill would be paid for by requiring lenders to pay a $250 fee every time they issue a notice of default on an owner-occupied residential property. However, those institutions that gave out fewer than 250 of these notices per year would be exempt from the fee.
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The bill passed both the state Senate and House of Representatives, though the former altered the original measure slightly, the report said. As a result, the law will have to be reconciled and voted on again before heading to the desk of Governor Chris Gregoire for final approval. Once signed, it would become law within 90 days.
“This will be one more tool that homeowners can use, as well as a tool that will generate some income for people who provide counseling and help people advocate with their lenders,” Teri Duffy, executive director of the nonprofit Community Housing Resource Center, told the newspaper.
Many consumers may be facing the threat of foreclosure through no fault of their own, as prolonged unemployment still remains a serious problem all across the country. However, many state and federal agencies now exist to help troubled homeowners keep their property.