Castor Amendment Included in Wall Street Reform Bill to Aid Struggling Homeowners
Dec 14, 2009 -
Congresswoman Kathy Castor successfully amended the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to aid struggling homeowners on the way to final passage by the House of Representatives today. The landmark legislation offers relief to homeowners and protects consumers from bank, credit card and risky financial practices that led to the economic collapse of 2008 and Great Recession.
Castor last year voted against the Wall Street bailout bill, known as TARP, because it focused directly on Wall Street rather than middle class families and did not include safeguards for executive pay, bonuses and transparency.
“I opposed the Wall Street bailout last year because it did not provide direct help to middle class families in the housing squeeze or safeguard taxpayer money. The Wall Street Reform bill now levels the playing field despite the opposition from the big banks and Republicans. Democrats fought through the special interest resistance to provide new help for homeowners while reining in the unscrupulous behavior like predatory lending practices.”
Castor and Rep. Doris Matsui, D- CA, coauthored an amendment approved by the House that requires banks and mortgage servicers to provide monthly details on their loan modification efforts under the Home Affordable Modification Program. While the Making Home Affordable initiative aimed to help an estimated 3 million to 4 million at-risk homeowners avoid foreclosure, lenders and servicers have been resistant to requests for modifications from qualified families.
“Many families are doing everything right and want to stay in their homes and pay their mortgages, but banks and loan servicers have been slow to respond to requests for a modification,” Castor said. “My amendment will pressure lenders to meet the needs of their borrowers and keep qualified families in their homes. It will keep lenders honest by requiring transparent, up-to-date information about modifications - no more excuses.”
Tampa Bay neighborhoods also will receive an important boost with new mortgage assistance resources for communities with high unemployment under provisions in the Act for new low-interest housing loans and money set aside for neighborhood revitalization efforts.
“These initiatives begin what we should have done long ago: directly help and protect neighborhoods and homeowners. Foreclosure rates are still far too high in Florida, so I know these measures will go a long way toward helping Florida families pay their mortgages and stay in their homes.
“A new Consumer Financial Protection Agency will prevent the financial industry from offering predatory mortgage loans to people who cannot afford repayment: reform aimed squarely at the subprime lenders. I heard from thousands of Floridians who attended the four foreclosure assistance workshops I organized about how they had been taken advantage of by their lenders. Now there will be penalties for irresponsible lending and strong consumer protections for mortgages. The Consumer Financial Protection Agency’s mission will be to protect homeowners and small businesses – rather than banks and Wall Street.”