Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition Launches Petition Demanding that Banks Save Homes

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Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition (MCRC) and the Moving Maryland Forward Network (MMFN) launch a petition drive calling for banks to put principal-reduction programs in place within 30 days

Households facing foreclosure can’t wait 75-90 days for relief. They need it now.

Because Maryland families are in urgent need of relief from the mortgage crisis, the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition (MCRC) and the Moving Maryland Forward Network (MMFN) launched a petition drive in February calling for banks to put principal-reduction programs and other reforms to help homeowners in place within 30 days.

On February 8, the Justice Department announced a $26 billion settlement of the robosigning scandal with five large lending banks (Wells Fargo, Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Ally Financial and Citigroup). One month later, there is still no final agreement that spells out just how the banks are going to help homeowners in distress.

While the bankers and bureaucrats dicker over details, the foreclosure crisis continues to cause thousands of Maryland families to lose their homes each month even as it leaves more and more homeowners underwater on their mortgages. The Baltimore Sun reported last week that 125,000 Baltimore area families owed more than their homes were worth at the end of 2011. Across the country, 400,000 more homeowners are upside-down on their mortgages now than were last summer.

Through the petition, MCRC and MMFN hope to gain the support needed to reform the foreclosure process in Maryland. More than 600 people have signed the petition already and the number of supporters continues to grow steadily. In January of 2012 more than 14,000 Maryland families learned that they might lose their homes in foreclosure. These are families who worked hard, played by the rules, and found that banks had their own separate rule-book. One good thing to come out of the national foreclosure settlement is that banks must reduce the principal on some mortgages to a more affordable level. But since households facing foreclosure still cannot afford to wait 75-90 days for relief, Maryland needs to also reform the foreclosure timeline.

Once the petition reaches 1,000 signatures, MCRC and MMFN will present those names to the regional presidents of the five banks in the settlement. The petition will show that the time has come to do more to help Maryland homeowners reduce the principal of mortgages families can't afford.

The Moving Maryland Forward Network (MMFN) is a new initiative to connect organizations focused on social advocacy in Maryland. By harnessing the power of online organizing tools, they are building a unique network of progressive campaigns working to ensure fairness, equality and justice for all Marylanders. The Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition (MCRC) advocates for increased fairness for consumers around a myriad of issues, and is focusing with the MMFN on preventing abusive lending & foreclosure practices.

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Franz Schneiderman

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