Many Hoosier homeowners are facing the worst financial crisis of their lives – their homes are in danger of being taken away from them in foreclosure. There are many companies and individuals who will promise to help you avoid foreclosure or to modify your loan for a fee. Indiana law regulates the activities of foreclosure consultants and the Office of the Indiana Attorney General enforces those laws. If you are facing foreclosure or are in danger of foreclosure there are things you need to know, including:
- Contact the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention (IFPN) for free foreclosure consulting services. IFPN is a non-profit, statewide network of certified housing counselors who can be reached toll-free by calling 1.877.GET.HOPE (1.877.438.4673).
- Indiana law requires foreclosure consultants to have a $25,000 surety bond if they are going to collect money up front. If the foreclosure consultant asks you for money before services are complete, ask the foreclosure consultant for a copy of the surety bond.
- If you enter into a contract for foreclosure consulting services, make sure the contract has a detailed description of the services and the cost of the services; information regarding your right to cancel the contract before midnight of the third business day after the transaction; and that you and the foreclosure consultant sign and date the contract.
- Retain a copy of the contract and any receipts, cancelled checks, or other evidence of payment. Under a new state law, foreclosure consultants are required to retain all customer records for at least three years.
Indiana Countrywide Settlement
In July 2009, the Indiana Attorney General and 39 other attorneys general entered into a multi-state settlement with Countrywide Home Loans, now owned by Bank of America. The settlement created a loan modification program called the National Homeownership Retention Program. The value of this program could reach $8 billion in savings for Hoosier homeowners. The Office of the Indiana Attorney General is focused on keeping as many families in their homes as possible through this program which could impact as many as 5,000 Hoosiers. The settlement also provides $2.8 million in consumer restitution for 1,901 Indiana families who had a Countrywide home loan and were foreclosed.