Press release from the Lt. Governor’s office:
Lt. Governor Becky Skillman Announces Partnership with Indiana Supreme Court aimed at Assisting Hoosiers in Foreclosure
Lt. Governor Becky Skillman announced a partnership between the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN) and the Indiana Supreme Court to create a program that will increase the number of eligible Hoosiers taking advantage of mortgage foreclosure settlement conferences and the number of successful outcomes in which foreclosure is avoided. The program involves a system for coordinating all settlement conferences on a county or district-wide basis and connects troubled borrowers to local resources.
In July 2009, legislation became effective giving Hoosier homeowners facing foreclosure the right to participate in a settlement conference with their lender to discuss options that will help them avoid foreclosure. By late 2009, less than 2 percent of eligible borrowers had exercised their right to a settlement conference. In an effort to encourage more borrowers to take advantage of this right, the IFPN and Indiana Supreme Court created a system involving local logistical coordinators to coordinate with courts, homeowners, housing counselors, pro bono attorneys, and lenders to schedule and facilitate settlement conferences.
“Foreclosure is devastating for families and their long-term financial stability, and it sends a ripple effect through entire communities,” said Lt. Governor Becky Skillman. “Help is available. And this partnership will allow us to reach troubled borrowers more effectively and get them on the road to recovery.”
Although the program will vary slightly based on region and county, a statewide program manager will help develop local programs that will include a facilitator to coordinate with courts to move foreclosures through the court system and ensure that borrowers with a foreclosure filing are aware of their right to a settlement conference. In addition, these facilitators will connect borrowers with resources such as IFPN foreclosure prevention counselors and pro bono attorneys.
“This partnership is designed to provide real-world help to homeowners facing foreclosure,” said Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard. “Coordinators will personally reach out to homeowners to help them work through the settlement conference steps. Managing the settlement conference logistics, such as making sure homeowners have completed all necessary paperwork, is one way to help see our state through the recession.”
This program was piloted by Judge Nancy Boyer of Allen County in February and resulted in 30 settlement conferences scheduled in its first three weeks. To date, more than 47 telephone conferences and 18 settlement conferences have taken place in Allen County. This program will launch in Saint Joseph and Marion Counties this month, followed by Monroe County this summer before going statewide in coming months.
The Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN) is a public-private partnership of more than forty lenders, banks, community organizations, and housing-related agencies that have joined together to assist Hoosiers facing foreclosure. Under the leadership of Lt. Governor Skillman, IFPN launched a statewide initiative in late 2007 aimed at helping Hoosiers seek counseling for foreclosure prevention options.