PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Congressional candidate Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., a former state senator, on Sunday proposed that Congress adopt a new federal law to protect homeowners from unfair foreclosure practices.
"The cities of Springfield and Holyoke have been hit hard by the worst flood of foreclosures in decades," said Nuciforo, who is currently Middle Berkshire register of deeds. "These communities need leadership in Washington to prevent any further damage to homeownership, home equity, or community stability. Any homeowner who receives a foreclosure notice should be eligible for a mediation process, with mandatory participation from the lender. I propose that Congress adopt a measure to bring the homeowner and the lender together to resolve foreclosures and protect homeowners."
Nuciforo's proposal would permit the modification of interest rates and payment schedules, allow for principal reduction, and ban foreclosures without proper documentation.
Nuciforo noted that his proposal is based on legislation recently passed in Massachusetts. It requires lenders to determine if the net value of modifying an existing mortgage is greater than the anticipated recovery from foreclosure. If so, the lender is required to offer loan modification to the borrower.
According to the Hampden County Registry of Deeds, 1,937 foreclosure deeds went on record from Jan. 1, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2011.
"When it comes to protecting homeowners, Congressman Richard Neal has been largely absent," Nuciforo said. "In the years leading to the 2008 financial crisis, Congressman Neal consistently supported the deregulation of major mortgage lenders and other banks. Congressional support for deregulating lenders contributed substantially to the collapse of the housing market."
The congressional record reflects that from 1994 through 2000, Congressman Richard Neal of the 2nd Massachusetts supported five measures, including the repeal of Glass-Steagal in 1999, that deregulated the mortgage and banking sectors in the United States.
"While Congressman Neal worked to deregulate lenders and strip legal protections from consumers, I authored a successful measure in the Massachusetts Senate which enacted one of the toughest pro-consumer mortgage protection bills in the nation."
Nuciforo said that if Congress fails to act to protect homeowners this year he would submit legislation to do so within his first 90 days of taking office.
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The state is holding a special election to fill the seat vacated by John F. Kerry, who has been confirmed as U.S. secretary of state.
The state primary is Tuesday, April 30. The last day to register to vote or to change party affiliation for the primary is Wednesday, April 10. Enrolled voters may only vote in their party primary; unenrolled voters may select a primary to vote in without changing their status.
The special election is scheduled for Tuesday, June 25. The last day to register to vote in the election is Wednesday, June 5.
To register to vote, one must be at least age 18 by the date of the election, a U.S. citizen and a resident of the municipality in which you are voting.