COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Thousands of homeowners have struggled to pay their mortgage in recent years but now Mississippi is offering them some assistance.
Homeowners in Columbus received some much needed foreclosure assistance Wednesday morning from the Attorney General’s office. In 2012, Mississippi joined 49 other states in a massive $25 billion Joint State-Federal Mortgage Servicing Settlement. Attorney General Jim Hood has traveled the state to inform homeowners of the upcoming settlement application deadline.
“We’re seeing a big problem with the banks still foreclosing on people even though they’ve made an application for a loan modification, but again that’s what the consortium is trying to stop,” says Bridgette Wiggins, a Special Assistant in the Attorney General’s Office.
The Attorney General created the Mississippi Foreclosure Prevention Consortium to assist homeowners who are struggling due to the foreclosure crisis. Last year, faced with allegations of mortgage mismanagement, the nation’s five largest mortgage services agreed to a multimillion dollar settlement for the state of Mississippi.
As a result of the National Mortgage Settlement, the state of Mississippi received over $13 million to help homeowners avoid preventable foreclosures and also to help law enforcement prosecute financial fraud.
Legal Counselor Phaedra Robinson says they want lenders to abide by the law.
“From the legal side, we’re seeing where some companies are trying to proceed with foreclosure without following the proper protocols and so we’re just making sure that they are doing everything that they’re legally required to do before they proceed with foreclosing on anybody’s property,” says Robinson.
The Consortium is a partnership of community action organizations including Money Management International, Mississippi Home Corporation, Mississippi Center for Justice, Mississippi Center for Legal Services, North Mississippi Rural Legal Services and the Mississippi Military Department. The group hopes to provide a range of services to help homeowners address the problems they face with lenders.
“Sometimes with these lenders the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, but that’s why they Consortium is here. To stop those types of problems,” says Wiggins.
Homeowners do not need to have qualified for the settlement to receive help from the Consortium.
The National Mortgage Settlement affects borrowers who lost their home to foreclosure between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011. The deadline to submit claims is January 18, 2013.
For more information on foreclosure prevention, call 866-530-9572 or go to the following websites: