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December 12, 2007

House Judiciary Committe approves H.R. 3609

This is an email I received today from Maureen Thompson, Legislative Director for NACBA.

Dear NACBA Member,

Today, the House Judiciary Committee voted 17-15 to approve H.R. 3609, the Emergency Home Ownership and Mortgage Equity Protection Act, as amended by a bipartisan substitute offered by Committee Chairman John Conyers (D, MI) and Rep. Steve Chabot (R, OH). That amendment narrows the scope of the bankruptcy remedy originally proposed by NACBA and other groups in the following ways:

1. Covers existing loans only, and only loans made after 1/1/2000. As such, it will have no effect on the market for loans going forward.

2. Covers nontraditional loans and subprime loans only, i,e, loans where abuses were prevalent.

3. Applies only to loans where there is a notice of foreclosure.

4. Sunsets after 7 years.

5. Provides guidance to judges so they cannot cramdown value below fair market value and cannot reduce interest rate below conventional mortgage rate.

Though the bill is more limited than we hoped, it nonetheless will provide a bankruptcy remedy for many hundreds of thousands of homeowners where none exists today. The next step is full House floor action, which we expect some time in late January or early February. And, although the bill has been narrowed, it still will be an uphill fight to get the bill approved on the House floor. The Senate Judiciary Committee also is expected to take up S. 2136, Senator Durbin's bill, in January/February.

Among those who supported the bill are: AARP, ACORN, Center for Responsible Lending, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, DEMOS, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, National Council of La Raza, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Women's Law Center, Service Employees International Union, U.S. Conference of Mayors, U.S. PIRG, and governors from Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and New Mexico.  As a NACBA member, you should know that NACBA has played a critical role in formulating the content for this bill and helping to get it through the Judiciary Committee today.

We hope that as many NACBA members as possible will participate in the campaign to get the bill passed. It is critically important for NACBA members to visit their Congressional representatives during the recess that will occur over the next few weeks. Also, we hope you will join your colleagues in Washington, January 29-30, for NACBA's Capitol Hill Meeting, which comes at the perfect time for advocacy on this legislation.

Please call or write with questions about contacting your representatives or comments.

Maureen Thompson
NACBA Legislative Director
(703) 276-3251


December 12, 2007 in Legislation | Permalink


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