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family-webRISMEDIA, May 8, 2009-Foreclosure rescue scams and other predatory and irresponsible lending practices have been on the rise, negatively impacting families, communities, and the housing market. The National Association of Realtors® recently testified on the importance of protecting homeowners from these anti-consumer practices. “Foreclosures lead to families losing their homes and their savings, and can cause entire neighborhoods to lose home value,” said John W. Anderson, a broker-owner from Crystal, Minn., who spoke on NAR’s behalf before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. “A sound and dynamic real estate industry fosters families and communities, and sustains and stimulates the national economy.”

NAR provided a list of recommendations that would help prevent foreclosure rescue scams and protect consumers. The recommendations include enacting H.R. 1231, the Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Act of 2009, as introduced. The bill would create appropriate minimum standards for disclosure and terms of service for individuals or firms offering their services as foreclosure consultants to distressed homeowners.

“There has been a significant rise in the number of foreclosure rescue scammers making all kinds of claims to defraud already devastated families,” said Anderson. “We all have an interest and a stake in making this stop.”

NAR asked Congress to direct lenders and servicers to be more aggressive in helping distressed homeowners with loan modifications, ensure foreclosure prevention options are widely advertised, shorten the closing process for short sales, and establish methods for the private and public sectors to actively educate home buyers about foreclosure alternatives and today’s safer more affordable mortgage products. Congress should also pass balanced mortgage reform that safeguards consumers and assures access to mortgages at a reasonable cost.

“Realtors® across the nation believe that anti-predatory lending reforms are required to restore consumer confidence in the housing industry and avoid another housing crisis in the future,” Anderson said.

“Historically low mortgage interest rates and a significant tax credit for first-time home buyers have enticed some consumers back into the housing market. However, we believe that wholesale reform of the mortgage lending sector will give consumers the protections they need and will remove the last impediment to a housing recovery,” said Anderson.

For more information, visit www.realtor.org.

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