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NJCA In The News

"Proposed Bill Limits Foreclosures To Record Holder Of Mortgage" (New Jersey Law Journal – May 30, 2014)

"N.J. Foreclosures Are Slowest In Nation" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – April 10, 2014)

"Workshop On Housing Laws Offered To Residents" (Edison Sentinel – April 3, 2014)

"Jersey Shore Merchants Criticize Chris Christie Over Remarks About Sandy Business Grant" (Star-Ledger – March 25, 2014)

"For Christie, More Protests, A More Visible Police Presence" (Star-Ledger – March 18, 2014)

"Housing Groups, Small Bankers Wary Of Mortgage Reforms" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – March 15, 2014)

"Sandy Aid Must Be Meted Out Faster, Menendez Says" (Press of Atlantic City – March 13, 2014)

"Head Of NJ Business Grant Program Defends Its Work" (Courier-Post – March 13, 2014)

"Head Of Business Grant Program Defends Its Work" (Daily Record – March 13, 2014)

"Irvington NAACP Reschedules Candidates Night Forum Again" (Irvington Herald – February 20, 2014)

"Summit Explores Ways To Combat Poverty In N.J." (Suburban – January 16, 2014)

"Summit Considers Ways To Combat State Poverty" (Sentinel – January 2, 2014)

"Jersey Shore Buyers With FHA-backed Loans Find Fewer Communities Where They Can Buy" (Asbury Park Press – December 14, 2013)

"Even North Jersey Wealthy Hit By Foreclosures" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – December 1, 2013)

"Feds Solving Mortgage Mystery With New Rules" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – November 25, 2013)

"$13B Penalty For JPMorgan" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – November 20, 2013)

"5,300 NJ Homeowners To Receive Foreclosure-Related Payments" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – June 5, 2013)

"U.S. Rep. Mel Watt Is Right Choice To Head Federal Housing Finance Agency" (The Times of Trenton – May 31, 2013)

"Walkaways By Banks Run Up Number Of Vacant Homes" (NJ Spotlight – April 19, 2013)

"Checks Going Out Friday As Part Of Foreclosure Settlement" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – April 10, 2013)

"Homeowners Got A Bit Of Help From Lenders " (Star-Ledger – February 24, 2013)

"Banks Help N.J. Homeowners In Mortgage Trouble With $1.2 Billion" (Star-Ledger – February 21, 2013)

"How A Program To Aid Distressed Homeowners Fell Short" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – February 10, 2013)

"Town, Nonprofit Receive Block Grants" (Essex News Daily – February 8, 2013)

"$8.5 billion Settlement For Foreclosure Victims" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – January 7, 2013)

"Banks To Pay $8.5 Billion In Foreclosure Settlement" (Star-Ledger – January 7, 2013)

"Foreclosure Protestors: Gov. '1 Percent' Christie 'Needs To Know What It's Like To Skip A Meal'" (NJ.com – December 7, 2012)

"Sandy-Swamped New Jersey Leading Foreclosures: Mortgages" (Bloomberg – November 15, 2012)

"Foreclosure Aid Program Revamped Following Miscues" (Courier-Post – October 25, 2012)

"New Jersey's Worsening Foreclosure Crisis" (NJ Spotlight – October 25, 2012)

"Free Foreclosure Prevention Workshop In Rahway" (NJToday.net – October 25, 2012)

"Bills To Fight Foreclosure Approved By Assembly Committee" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – October 24, 2012)

"Bank Of America Announces Grants" (New Jersey Herald– September 24, 2012)

"Parsippany-Based Housing Nonprofit Wins Bank Of America Grant" (Parsippany Patch – September 17, 2012)

"Foreclosure: A Tale Of Crisis In Today's Communities" (Irvington Herald – September 12, 2012)

"Foreclosures Among Owners Of Million-Dollar Homes On The Rise" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – September 4, 2012)

"Menendez: Veterans Need Financial Help And Support" (Belleville-Nutley Patch – July 23, 2012)

"Belleville Hosts Launch Of New Finance Program For Veterans" (NorthJersey.com – July 20, 2012)

"Menendez Joins Veterans, Consumer Advocates, Citi Salutes To Launch Financial Education Program For NJ Heroes" (Newsroom — Robert Menendez, United States Senator for New Jersey – July 20, 2012)

"Menendez On Aurora Shootings: 'A Wake-Up Call'" (PolitickerNJ – July 20, 2012)

"Toms River Library To Host Foreclosure Prevention Speaker" (Toms River Times – July 18, 2012)

"Analysis: Ranks Of Tight-Fisted Community Banks Surge" (Chicago Tribune – July 9, 2012)

"Housing Counseling" (Home News Tribune / MyCentralJersey.com – July 5, 2012)

"Housing Counseling Helps: HUD" (MyCentralJersey.com – June 24, 2012)

"Mortgage Modification Meant Higher Monthly Payment For Brick Homeowner" (Asbury Park Press – June 24, 2012)

"NAACP Plans Meeting To Help With Foreclosures" (Irvington Herald – June 19, 2012)

"JFS: Spend Funds On Housing Needs" (New Jersey Jewish News – June 6, 2012)

"Advocates Urge Christie, Foreclosure Funds For Housing Not Budget Relief" (NJ Spotlight – May 31, 2012)

"Affordable Housing Advocates Accuse Gov. Christie Of Misusing $75M From Foreclosure Settlement" (Star-Ledger – May 30, 2012)

"N.J. Foreclosure Inventory Spikes; 2nd Most In Nation" (Asbury Park Press – May 17, 2012)

"Foreclosures In New Jersey In A Troublesome State Of Flux" (NJ Spotlight – May 9, 2012)

"ACLU Suit Delays TRU-ID" (NorthJersey.com – May 8, 2012)

"In New Christie Budget, The One-Shot Returns" (Daily Record – May 6, 2012)

"Central Jersey Homes Face Rising Tide Of Mortgage Defaults" (MyCentralJersey.com – March 13, 2012)

"Mortgage Loans Prove Hard To Get" (Home News Tribune / MyCentralJersey.com – March 4, 2012)

"New Jersey's Looming Foreclosure Crisis" (NJ Spotlight – February 28, 2012)

"Salowe-Kaye to Gov. Christie: Please, Don't Steal Mortgage Settlement Money" (NJ.com – February 24, 2012)

"New Federal Watchdog Taking Aim At Debt Collectors" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – February 23, 2012)

"1199SEIU, Partners Rally in Trenton During Budget Address" (1199SEIU – February 22, 2012)

"Please, Don't Steal Mortgage Settlement Money" (The Daily Journal – February 17, 2012)

"Down Payment On Housing Fix" (Philadelphia Inquirer – February 14, 2012)

"Menendez Advocates Shared Appreciation Mortgages At Plainfield Hearing" (NJ Spotlight – February 13, 2012)

"U.S. Settlement With Mortgage Servicers Will Deliver Nearly $838 Million To N.J." (Star-Ledger – February 10, 2012)

"Sen. Menendez Seeks Local Advice To Address Foreclosure Crisis" (MyCentralJersey.com – February 10, 2012)

"N.J. Will Get $837.7 Million As Part Of Foreclosure Settlement" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – February 9, 2012)

"Saving Our Neighborhoods From Foreclosures" (United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Uurban Affairs – February 7, 2012)

"New Jersey Citizen Action Train-the-Trainer Session" (National Housing Institute – February 5, 2012)

"New State Law Will Regulate Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Scams" (Star-Ledger – December 22, 2011)

"Schaer, Burzichelli, DeAngelo & Watson Coleman 'Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act' Gets Re-Approval From Assembly" (InsuranceNewsNet.com – December 6, 2011)

"8% Of NJ Mortgage Holders In Foreclosure Process" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – November 17, 2011)

"NJ Lenders, Consumer Group Hail New Obama Effort To Help Housing Woes" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – October 24, 2011)

"Assemblyman Gary Schaer's Homeowner Protection Bill Still Awaits Gov. Christie's Signature" (New Jersey Newsroom – August 29, 2011)

"Christie Must Move On 'Foreclosure Rescue' Bill" (Star-Ledger – August 21, 2011)

"New Jersey Braces For Foreclosure Onslaught While Christie Faces Criticism For Slow Action On Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Bill" (Bryan Ellis Real Estate Letter – August 21, 2011)

"Keep Eye On Foreclosure Process" (Herald News – August 19, 2011)

"N.J. Assemblyman Gary Schaer Urges Gov. Christie To Sign Bill Protecting New Jerseyans From Foreclosure-Related Fraud" (New Jersey Newsroom – August 17, 2011)

"Clocks Start Again On NJ Foreclosures" (Blue Jersey – August 17, 2011)

"Thousands Of Filings Expected As N.J. Foreclosures Resume" (Newsworks – August 16, 2011)

"4 Banks Cleared To Start Foreclosing Again" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – August 16, 2011)

"Judge Lifts Holds On New Jersey Foreclosures" (WCBS Newsradio 880 – August 16, 2011 — AUDIO NEWS INTERVIEW)

"Jobless Get Help To Stay In Homes" (The Record / NorthJersey.com – July 8, 2011)

"N.J. Legislature Bill Would Regulate Foreclosure Rescue Fraud, Offer Relief To Distressed Homeowners" (Star-Ledger – July 3, 2011)

"After Ruling Halted N.J. Foreclosures, Experts Fear Deluge Of Filings" (Star-Ledger – June 27, 2011)

"Foreclosures Down In NJ, But Picture Not Any Rosier" (News Life – May 17, 2011)

"Foreclosures On Decline In N.J., But Concerns Linger" (Courier-Post – May 17, 2011)

"Foreclosures Down In NJ, But Picture Not Rosier" (Asbury Park Press – May 16, 2011)

"Bill Designed To Protect NJ Homeowners In Foreclosure" (Star-Ledger – May 13, 2011)

"Avoiding Foreclosure Seminar Offered Free On Saturday" (The Jersey Journal – April 2, 2011)

"New Jersey People's Forces Demand Mortgage Write-Down" (FightBack! News – April 1, 2011)

"A Push To Bring Jersey's Foreclosures Under Control" (New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio – March 30, 2011 AUDIO NEWS SEGMENT)

NOTE: Read earlier news articles at NJCA in the News.

Foreclosure Prevention

(Also See: Insurance, Banking and Community Reinvestment Campaign and Auto Insurance Rates Campaign)

Tenants Rights During Foreclosure

EvictionThrough our loan counseling services and community financial education outreach, New Jersey Citizen Action became aware of tenants being illegally forced out of their homes when living in properties facing foreclosure. Along with Legal Services of New Jersey and the New Jersey Tenants Rights Organization, NJCA brought tenant eviction issues to the attention of New Jersey Public Advocate and the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.

The New Jersey Anti-Eviction Act protects tenants even when the property where they live is in foreclosure or has been foreclosed. The law protects tenants against eviction as long as they pay the rent, respect the peace and quiet of their neighbors, and avoid willful or grossly negligent damage to the property. The Act does not apply to tenants of owner-occupied homes with two or fewer rental units.

In some cases, tenants are offered "cash for keys" agreements, where they are given money to turn in their keys and move out, but the offer does not mention that they are also free to stay. In other cases, they are just told they have to get out.

DPAThe Public Advocate wants to hear from any tenants who have received notification that they must vacate their apartments due to a foreclosure. Call 609-826-5070 to learn about your rights and get appropriate referrals. Eligible low-income tenants threatened with illegal evictions can call the LSNJ hotline directly at 888-576-5529.

"As Citizen Action continues to be inundated with homeowners who are facing foreclosure, we are discovering that renters who occupy some of these homes are unaware of their rights as tenants and are being pressured to move out. Public education and strict enforcement of the law is essential to preventing more people from losing their homes," said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Executive Director of NJ Citizen Action.

For more information, see the Media Release from the New Jersey Public Advocate, Commissioner of Banking and Insurance: "Tenants In Foreclosed Properties Have Rights — Cannot Be Evicted Due To Foreclosure Under NJ Law."

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July 31 — Predatory Lending, Housing Discrimination, and Foreclosure Prevention: Free Train-the-Trainer Session

Foreclosure Prevention signThursday, July 31, 2014,
10am – 3pm (registration 9:30am)

The National Newark Building
744 Broad Street, 26th floor Conference/Training Room
Newark, NJ 07102

Map & Directions (MapQuest)Printable Directions (PDF)

New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA) invites you to attend a free Train-the-Trainer Session on Predatory Lending, Housing Discrimination, and Foreclosure Awareness on Thursday, July 31, 2014. The training will be held at the National Newark Building, located at 744 Broad Street, 26th floor Conference/Training Room in Newark, NJ. This day-long session will be presented by Leila Amirhamzeh, NJCA's Fair Housing Initiatives Project Director, and Abbott Gorin, Managing Attorney for Newark-Essex Legal Services. The training is designed specifically for housing counselors of HUD-certified counseling agencies, loan officers/originators at financial institutions, and staff of other agencies and/or service providers that provide assistance and information to homeowners who may be affected by foreclosure, housing discrimination, and/or predatory lending.

This workshop is supported by funding under a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and is being provided at no cost to participants to meet the demands for additional education on housing and foreclosure issues in New Jersey.

The program will begin at 10:00am and will end by 3:00pm. Coffee and lunch will be provided to participants. Please arrive by 9:30am for registration so the training can begin on time. As indicated above, there is no charge for this training. Directions to the National Newark Building are available as both customizable Map & Directions (MapQuest) and as Printable Directions (PDF). Ample parking is available in nearby lots. Spread the word and share the Flyer!

RSVP: To reserve a place at the training session, please RSVP by contacting Jessica Zevallos at 973-643-8800, x210 or emailing her at jessica@njcitizenaction.org. When registering, kindly leave: 1) the name of your organization, 2) the names of the individuals who will be attending, and 3) a phone number where you can be reached. The registration deadline is Friday, July 25, 2014. We look forward to seeing you on July 31!

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CRA Is Not the Problem! Predatory Lending Is!

GraphicRepeatedly — in print, on the airwaves and online — the federal Community Reinvestment Act has become a target of blame both nationally and here in New Jersey. New Jersey Citizen Action and The Housing and Community Development Network of NJ, who have negotiated approximately $18 billion in CRA investments in New Jersey over the next three years will not remain silent while a good law responsible for a great deal of positive development in lower income communities is outrageously vilified.

"The CRA is not only responsible for good mortgages," said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action. "Under the law, banks have offered discounted home improvement loans, construction and permanent financing, small business loans targeting women and minorities, and other investments in community and economic development. Many of these investments would not have happened otherwise."

"Certain people are trying to blame CRA for the current financial crisis," said Paige Carlson Heim, the Network's managing director. "That is patently false. Mortgages originating from banks under CRA are among the soundest in the nation."

CRA is a federal law that imposes an affirmative obligation on banks to serve the credit needs of low- and moderate-income communities and to take steps to provide equal access to responsible financial products and services to traditionally underserved populations. The law was created in 1977 to counteract lending discrimination that restricted credit for low-income, minority and urban communities. Often cited as a positive agent for change, the CRA has lately come under attack. Legislators and others are claiming that the federal government — through the CRA — has forced banks to make subprime loans to people who were bad risks. Therefore, they say, CRA is responsible for all the toxic paper that is now poisoning the entire global financial system.

This is simply not true. Unregulated, unchecked predatory lending is the problem, not CRA. According to extensive documentation, including reports by governmental agencies, non-profits and research organizations, the vast majority of high-cost, subprime loans were originated by independent mortgage and finance companies — lenders not covered by the CRA. Banks that make below-market mortgage loans under CRA agreements, negotiated with groups like NJCA and the Network, provide these loans only to appropriately qualified homebuyers who have successfully completed home ownership and credit counseling classes and whose incomes have been verified. These are some of the safest loans for banks because of the CRA requirements and because advocacy groups like NJCA and the Network monitor their lending performance.

"Over the last 13 years, 12,000 NJCA clients have closed on 30-year fixed, below market-rate mortgages, with no points or PMI, using CRA mortgages negotiated with participating banks," Salowe-Kaye said. "All clients receive one-on-one counseling, pre- and post-mortgage, at one of our nine HUD-certified offices throughout the state. According to the banks with whom we partner, our default record is almost nonexistent."

As stated by CFED, the national nonprofit dedicated to expanding economic opportunity to all Americans, the CRA has an impressive track record of providing affordable, sustainable and profitable loans in underserved communities, and that those loans have a consistently low default rate.

"Banks under CRA must follow strict underwriting standards that ensure that the borrower understands and can afford the loan, and that disallow and penalize the unfair lending practices that caused the current mess," Carlson Heim said.

NJCA and The Network agree with CFED's analyses that the subprime crisis is a result of risky and complex lending and poor or absent regulation. Lenders approved risky adjustable-rate mortgages, often without considering whether borrowers could afford them; investors bought them in securitized form perhaps without understanding the risk; and regulators did not step in. The worst offenders, the independent mortgage companies, were never subject to CRA or any federal regulator for that matter. In short, CRA didn't make them lend; profit motive did.

NJCA and our allies will continue to defend the CRA, and to push for assistance to those families and communities threatened by the subprime foreclosure crisis. On October 6, 2008, the Assembly Budget Committee approved the New Jersey Home Ownership Preservation Act (A-2517/ S.1599), clearing the way for a vote on the measure before the full chamber. Thanks and congratulations to all of the members and friends who communicated their support to Assembly committee representatives! We will need to keep the pressure on our lawmakers and Governor Corzine to enact the relief the state needs. New Jersey's families deserve quick and decisive action to stem the threat to homes, neighborhoods and the state's economy. For more information about getting involved in our effort to pass this bill, see the articles on this page, or email Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Executive Director of NJ Citizen Action, at phyllis@njcitizenaction.org.

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About the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)

FamilyThe Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is a federal law that requires banks to invest money into all areas where they take deposits. This law was designed to eliminate "redlining," the practice of not lending or investing in an area because of its income level or minority population.

NJCA and the NJCA Education Fund (NJCA's research and education arm) have mobilized community groups and local activists to negotiate Community Reinvestment Act Agreements with almost all of the largest and some of the smallest banks in New Jersey. We have CRA Agreements totaling over $8 billion in commitments for below market rate mortgages, discounted home improvement loans, construction and permanent financing for non-profit affordable housing developers, and small business loans for women and minority owned businesses.

NJCA’s CRA Agreements provide:

Ongoing analysis by NJCA shows that many banks still do not lend to low and moderate income or minority applicants at the same level as high income, non-minority applicants. Some banks still do not offer competitive and affordable loans. Some members of Congress have tried to weaken the Community Reinvestment Act.

As a result, NJCA needs your help! Support our CRA Campaign:

How NJCA Uses CRA to Help Working Families

FamilyOur free, one-on-one Mortgage and Credit Counseling Service helps low and moderate income first time homebuyers deal with budgeting and credit repair in order to qualify for one of the special mortgages offered by banks who have Agreements with NJCA.

We also provide a Home Improvement Loan Counseling Service to help homeowners review contracts, research contractors and obtain affordable financing for home improvement projects.

NJCA holds Women’s Housing Initiatives statewide to encourage women to use loan counseling to achieve the dream of homeownership. We provide marketing and outreach services to increase the communities’ awareness of the loans in the CRA Agreements.

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Protect Yourself from Predatory Lending

PredatorBeware Before You Borrow: Protecting Your American Dream

For many people, homeownership is a major part of the American dream. In fact, your house is likely to be your single greatest asset. Unfortunately for homeowners, predatory lenders are on the prowl, targeting unsuspecting New Jersey consumers and often forcing them into high cost loans that could lead to foreclosure. In order to protect your dream, there are some important things you need to know, whether you are buying a house for the first time, refinancing your mortgage, or simply making improvements or repairs on your home.

What is the difference between subprime and predatory lenders?

Subprime lenders make loans to borrowers who have a less than perfect credit history. As a result, they charge higher rates and fees than banks (conventional lenders) to offset borrowers' credit problems. Predatory lenders, however, systematically target individuals who are least able to pay back loans and who are most vulnerable to the abusive lending tactics listed below.

What are some common predatory lending practices?

Who do predatory lenders target?

Although anyone can be a victim of abusive lending practices, research throughout the country has shown that minorities, seniors and other low income groups are typically targeted by lending predators.

What are home improvement scams?

Although the majority of home improvement contractors are honest people who provide homeowners with important services at fair prices, there are some contractors who are deceitful. In most home improvement scams, these contractors will overcharge consumers for work, urge them to have unnecessary repairs done, perform work that is shabby and below standard, and in some cases, will steer unsuspecting homeowners to a high-priced and often predatory lender to finance the improvements.

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Important Do's and Don'ts for Homebuyers

PredatorDON'T:

DO:

Contact NJCA if you have any questions. Always remember, if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

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Are You the Victim of a Loan Scam?

VictimWe hold informational meetings for individuals who feel that they may be victims of predatory lending. At NJCA's informational meetings about predatory lending, you will receive information on the following:

If you are facing immediate foreclosure, contact NJCA's free loan counseling service for crisis counseling.

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