Toledo, OHIO – With an increasing percentage of homes in Ohio reaching foreclosure, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, today spoke about how the national subprime lending crisis is hurting the Toledo community. Last year Ohio had 79,000 foreclosure filings, and in just the first half of this year, Ohio already had 60,000 foreclosure filings.
“Toledo is being hit hard by the housing crisis,” said Senator Brown. “We need to do something now. We need tougher regulation of the industry. We need more funds for counseling homeowners.”
According to the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing, Lucas County is among the top six counties in Ohio with the largest number of foreclosure filings. Lucas County experienced 3,618 foreclosures in 2006. Foreclosures can cost up to $80,000 for all stakeholders: homeowners, neighbors, cities and local governments, lenders, and loan servicers.
In May, Brown requested federal funding for housing non-profits on the front lines of the fight to prevent a national foreclosure crisis from the subprime lending fallout. Last week, $200 million for foreclosure counseling was included in the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development spending bill adopted by the Senate. Federal funds would be used by non-profit counseling agencies that work one-on-one with borrowers who are trapped in unaffordable subprime loans. With these funds, non-profit agencies will be able to help borrowers work out affordable repayment plans with their lender, or find a new lender to refinance their loans. However, President George W. Bush has threatened to veto this legislation.
“I hope the president will reconsider his veto threat and not delay help for homeowners and communities in Ohio and across the country,” said Brown.
Earlier this year, Brown introduced the Borrower’s Protection Act of 2007 with Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Robert Casey (D-PA), which would tackle abuses in the mortgage marketplace. Their bill would amend the Truth in Lending Act to require brokers and originators to act in the interest of borrowers. The bill outlines standards for brokers and originators to assess a borrower’s ability to repay a mortgage and holds lenders accountable for the actions of brokers and appraisers.
The Senate Banking Committee is expected to rewrite the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan program this week, in hopes of modernizing the program so that borrowers have access to reasonably structured and priced loans.
Brown was joined today by local homeowner Susan Simpkins and Katherine Broka, President/CEO of Toledo Fair Housing and Northwest Ohio Development Agency.