BOSTON – A new Massachusetts law signed by Gov. Deval L. Patrick this month will expand consumer protections against foreclosure.
In a statement, Patrick highlighted the requirement for creditors to take “reasonable steps” to avoid foreclosure for certain mortgage loans. Creditors now must determine whether the value of modifying the loan outweighs the likely value of foreclosure. If so, the creditor must make the loan modification. The provisions of the new law also mandate that lenders prove loan ownership prior to taking foreclosure action. The law includes new protections that prohibit lenders from misrepresentation, “unfair costs” and imposition of fees for services not performed.
The news release also said the law will create a task force to study foreclosure mediation and other alternatives for homeowners. The group will include the attorney general as the chair of the task force, legislative leaders, a representative of the Massachusetts Bankers Association and three appointees made by the governor.
Separately, Patrick directed the Division of Banks to create regulations that will enhance mortgage-loan servicing standards to regulate third-party loan services. These regulations require lenders to consider all available loss-mitigation options before proceeding to foreclosure, similar to standards created in a recent national mortgage-servicer settlement with five national servicers. •