“Today I attended a joint hearing of the NYS Assembly Committees on Housing, Judiciary and Banks on mortgage foreclosures. The hearing, as we expected, focused on the need to get funding to the programs designed to help people avoid foreclosure. The three committee chairs, Lopez (Housing), Weinstein (Judiciary) and Robinson (Banks), ostensibly shared the leadership of the hearing but Lopez clearly emerged as having the most aggressive and focused agenda.
MA Lopez who is also the Kings County (Brooklyn) Democratic Chairman has stepped out as a advocate of the OWS message and he appeared to want to use today’s hearing as an opportunity to start building a movement for state funding of the community programs “cleaning up the banks’ messes”. He pointedly asked the President of the NY Bankers Association if his 10 biggest members would donate $1 million each to this fund. Lopez’s interest goes beyond political hyperbole having suggested a possible law to require the banks to contribute to this fund he envisions.
Of more immediate and direct interest to you and the association were MA Lopez’s discussion about stolen, fraudulent, false title and other schemes by which people try to steal property ownership. Lopez expressed interest in exploring how to prevent this. He asked, “What do you need to file” to prove ownership…as in what should we require via legislation so we know title changes appropriately. The Assemblyman openly invited anyone with ideas to contact him. The association and I independently have good relations with Lopez so we should be able to facilitate this discussion.
In addition, a number of the speakers included references to various mortgage bills we’re working on such as A626 and A629. The committees heard much of the same conversation we heard in our discussion with the “advocates” but given the length of the hearing and the priority of the “funding” messaging referenced above the oral testimony was thin on the substance of the work the many witnesses are engaged in. I’ll be seeking a copy of the written testimony of all of the witnesses and will let you know of anything noteworthy.
MA Weinstein discussed her desire to end MERS and urged banks and others to reconsider their opposition.”