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College of Law to hold conference on homeowner rights

September 25, 2012

The ASU Homeowner Advocacy Unit at theCollege of Law will host a day-long conference on homeowner rights under the National Mortgage Settlement, Oct. 19. The conference will feature Joseph A. Smith, National Settlement Monitor, as the keynote speaker, and will be among the first public presentations of homeowners’ rights under this historic settlement.

For tickets to this free event, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the College of Law’s Armstrong Hall on the Tempe campus, click here. A reception will follow.

“I recently released my first progress report on the banks’ progress under the Settlement, and I look forward to sharing what I’ve found. Additionally, improving the way consumers are treated in mortgage servicing is worthy of lengthy discussion, and I look forward to hearing the opinions of the experts who will gather to discuss these important issues,” Smith said.

The conference is open to homeowners, homeowner advocates and the public interested in learning more about the settlement.

“This will be an excellent opportunity for homeowners to hear about the status of the housing market, and opportunities for homeowners under the settlement,” said Monique Wilhite, Director of the Homeowner Advocacy Unit. “We will also have experts who understand the modification process, and some of the hurdles homeowners may face in the process.”

In February, five of the largest U.S. banks entered into a settlement agreement with 49 state attorneys general to resolve claims about the way banks serviced home loans during the mortgage crisis. The settlement resulted in more than $25 billion in monetary sanctions and relief to homeowners.  It also established new rules and regulations to which servicers must adhere when conducting transactions with borrowers.

The conference will include discussions on the progress being made under this settlement by the banks and the states. Key participants will include representatives from the Offices of the Attorneys General of Arizona, California, Nevada and New Mexico. Housing counselors have also been invited to participate.

A discussion of Arizona’s Hardest Hit Fund, established in 2010 to assist homeowners facing imminent foreclosure of their homes, and the relief programs available to them also is planned.

The College of Law’s Homeowner Advocacy Unit, housed in the Civil Justice Clinic, was founded in 2011. Funded through a grant from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the HAU represents borrowers who have been victims of mortgage fraud or are facing wrongful foreclosure. In addition, the program trains new attorneys in the skills needed to become effective advocates on behalf of distressed homeowners.