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					Ohio Foreclosure
  Prevention
  Task Force

    Final Report
    September 10, 2007




             Ted Strickland, Governor
              Kimberly A. Zurz, Chair
         Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force

                                                                 Mission and History
                                                                 On March 7, 2007, Governor Strickland announced the creation of
Table of Contents                                                a task force to deal with the mounting foreclosure crisis in Ohio.
                                                                 The 25 member Task Force, chaired by the Director of the Ohio
n Mission and History ..................................1        Department of Commerce, Kimberly A. Zurz, brought together
                                                                 representatives from state and local government, the financial
n Task Force Members.................................2           industry and the non-profit sector to address foreclosure prevention
                                                                 and intervention, and to provide assistance to homeowners in distress
n Task Force Committees ............................3            with their mortgage. Based on the Governor’s directive, the Task
                                                                 Force affirmed its mission as follows:
n Executive Summary ..................................4
                                                                 The mission of the Foreclosure Prevention Task Force is to provide
n Home Foreclosures in Ohio......................6               a unified response to improve prevention methods and manage
                                                                 foreclosure issues in Ohio through outreach and education for
n Task Force Recommendations .................7                  homebuyers and those facing foreclosures, proactive intervention
                                                                 to help homeowners facing imminent foreclosure, and financial
 • Encourage Borrowers to Get Help Early .... 7                  resources and strategies to work out distressed mortgages to keep
                                                                 people in their homes.
 • Expand Housing Counseling and
   Intervention Services.................................9       The Foreclosure Prevention Task Force met for the first time on
                                                                 April 10, 2007. From that date on, they met bi-weekly through
 • Work with Lenders and Servicers to                            September 10, 2007 hearing from numerous experts in the industry,
   Maximize Alternatives to Foreclosure ......12                 and the public. The Task Force developed its recommendations
                                                                 through the work of five committees. The 46 recommendations of
 • Provide Options for Homeowners                                the committees were ultimately combined into 27 recommendations
   to Refinance or Restructure Their                             under seven themes, approved by the Task Force on August 27, and
   Mortgages ...............................................15   adopted on September 10.

 • Improve Ohio’s Foreclosure Process .......17

 • Strengthen Protections for
   Homeowners ................................... 20

 • Help Communities Recover from the
   Aftermath of Foreclosures ......................22

n Minority Reports .....................................25

n Acknowledgments...................................33




                                                                                                                                     1
    Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force

                                            Members
Kimberly A. Zurz, Chair                             Larry Long
Director, Ohio Department of Commerce               Executive Director
                                                    County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio
The Honorable Richard Cordray
Ohio Treasurer of State                             John Mahoney
                                                    Deputy Director, Ohio Municipal League
Mike Deemer
Chief Deputy Attorney General                       Eric McFadden
                                                    Director, Governor’s Office of Faith Based and
The Honorable Steve Driehaus                        Community Initiatives
State Representative
                                                    Carl Riedy
Bill Faith                                          Vice President, Community Lending
Executive Director, Coalition of Homelessness and   Fannie Mae
Housing in Ohio
                                                    The Honorable Tom Roberts
Doug Garver                                         State Senator
Executive Director, Ohio Housing Finance Agency
                                                    Rachel Robinson
William Graves                                      Staff Attorney, Equal Justice Foundation
Deputy Director for Community Development,
Ohio Department of Development                      The Honorable Jim Rokakis
                                                    Treasurer, Cuyahoga County
Ralph Gildehaus
Director, Ohio Benefits Bank                        Lou Tisler
                                                    Executive Director, Neighborhood Housing
David H. Hehman                                     Services of Greater Cleveland (NeighborWorks)
President and CEO, Federal Home Loan Bank
                                                    Michael Van Buskirk
The Honorable Jeff Jacobson                         CEO and President
State Senator                                       Ohio Bankers League

John Kozlowski                                      Jeff Wherry
General Counsel, Ohio Credit Union League           Executive Director
                                                    Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association
Thomas Leach
Field Office Director, U.S. Department of Housing   The Honorable Chris Widener
and Urban Development                               State Representative

Larry Litton                                        Jimmie L.Williams
CEO, Litton Loan Services                           Director, Industry and State Relations
                                                    Freddie Mac

2
Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force

                 Committees

           Community Outreach and Community Education Committee
           Richard Cordray, co-chair
           Jim Rokakis, co-chair
           Bill Graves
           Ralph Gildehaus
           David Hehman
           Eric McFadden
           John Kozlowski
           Larry Long
           Jeff Wherry


           Responsible Lender Options
           Kimberly A. Zurz, chair
           Senator Jeff Jacobson
           Larry Litton
           Tom Leach


           Legal
           Mike Deemer, chair
           John Mahoney
           Rachel Robinson
           Jeff Quayle (Ohio Bankers League)


           Housing Options
           Bill Faith, chair
           Doug Garver
           Lou Tisler


           Legislative Committee
           Representative Steve Driehaus, co-chair
           Senator Tom Robers, co-chair
           Representative Chris Widener
           Jimmie Williams
           Carl Riedy




                                                                  3
    Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force

                                      Executive Summary
Governor Strickland created the Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force to deal with the mounting
foreclosure crisis in Ohio. Chaired by Department of Commerce Director Kimberly A. Zurz, the
25 member Task Force convened on April 10, 2007. The Task Force developed the following
recommendations, approved on August 27 and adopted on September 10.

Encourage Borrowers to Get Help Early
   1.	 Conduct a public awareness campaign and borrower outreach events to encourage
       borrowers to contact their lender if they are facing an ARM reset or if they are having
       trouble making their mortgage payment.
   2.	 Utilize information from public databases to identify borrowers who are at risk and
       contact them.
   3.	 Maximize every available resource to educate consumers and connect them to solutions.

Expand Housing Counseling and Intervention Services
   4.	 Provide a total of $10 million for housing and financial counseling from local, state,
       federal and private sources, including at least $2 million in state funds.
   5.	 Increase the capacity of housing counseling organizations to assist borrowers in default
       and foreclosure.
   6.	 Expand the Ohio Home Rescue Program to provide financial assistance to homeowners
       facing a short term financial crisis.

Work with Lenders and Servicers to Maximize Alternatives to Foreclosure
   7.	 Advocate for clearer federal guidance and increased flexibility to protect investors and
        homeowners, and for the adoption of a model Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA).
   8.	 Urge loan servicers to exercise their discretion to achieve maximum flexibility in
        modifying loans to protect investors and homeowners.
   9.	 Require servicers by statute, rule or other action, to notify borrowers in subprime
        adjustable rate mortgages at least six months prior to reset.
   10.	 Urge loan servicers to pursue all workout options and dedicate resources to foreclosure
        prevention.
   11.	 Establish policy through the Department of Commerce encouraging responsible loan
        modifications, and an investment policy through the Treasurer for those financial entities
        and their subsidiaries that invest state funds.

Provide Options for Homeowners to Refinance or Restructure Their Mortgages
   12.	 Provide income tax forgiveness on loan readjustments.
   13.	 Provide affordable fixed-rate financing options for borrowers seeking to refinance their
        mortgage.




4
Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force
                       Executive Summary,
                           continued


      Improve Ohio’s Foreclosure Process
         14.	 Improve homeowner access to information and to legal counsel.
         15.	 Encourage mediation and alternative dispute resolution to maximize the early
              resolution of foreclosure actions.
         16.	 Expedite the post-judgment process of property transfer.

      Strengthen Protections for Homeowners
          17.	 Adopt the Conference of State Bank Supervisors’ Guidance on Subprime
               Mortgages as standard for state-regulated non-bank lenders to the extent not
               already addressed by Senate Bill 185.
          18.	 Encourage County Auditors to use valuation methods that accurately reflect
               market conditions, and to alert law enforcement about suspicious activity.
          19.	 Require subprime mortgage servicers to file a worksheet with the State of Ohio
               containing information about the mortgage loan terms at the time of filing a
               foreclosure complaint.
          20.	 Require all mortgage lenders to offer the option to escrow tax and insurance.

      Help Communities Recover from the Aftermath of Foreclosures
         21.	 Include a major initiative in the Governor’s Urban Agenda to address vacant
              housing and to revitalize neighborhoods.
         22.	 Utilize surplus county Delinquent Tax Administration and Collection (DTAC)
              funds to support local efforts for mortgage rescue, foreclosure prevention, and
              demolition of vacant houses.
         23.	 Reallocate existing state resources to put a greater emphasis on foreclosure
              prevention and recovery.
         24.	 Facilitate land banking of properties and loosen restrictions on local jurisdictions
              trying to gain control over tax delinquent properties.
         25.	 Immediately record deeds at sheriff sale (Foley-Blessing H.B. 138).
         26.	 Modify Ohio receivership law.
         27.	 Target lease-option scams by restricting initiation fees and requiring clear
              disclosures.




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    Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force

                                Home Foreclosures in Ohio

The crisis of home foreclosure has touched all corners of Ohio. With few exceptions, every
county recorded an increase in foreclosure filings from 2005-2006, reaching the highest level
statewide in 13 years.1 The most recent edition of the Mortgage Bankers Association National
Delinquency Survey found that at 5.22 percent, Ohio had the highest rate of mortgages that
were seriously delinquent or in the foreclosures process of any state. The survey also found
the percent of subprime Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) loans over 90 days past due or in
foreclosure in Ohio was 22.9 percent, almost twice the national average.2

Ohio is a judicial foreclosure state, which means that to begin foreclosure the proper
documents must be filed in a Court of Common Pleas by the lender. Once officially notified
by the Clerk of Courts, the borrower has 28 days to respond. If the Court finds the borrower
in default, a judgment is issued. Then the Clerk of Courts issues an order of sale to the
Sheriff. The Sheriff must appraise the property, schedule the sale and file the deed. After a
thirty day redemption period, the sale is final.

The Task Force found that the profiles of people facing foreclosure range from people who
recently purchased a home to long-term owners. Loss of income and medical problems are
frequently a precipitating factor, compounded by the recent and dramatic increase in the
numbers of borrowers in adjustable rate mortgages facing interest rate resets. Over the next
five years, $1 trillion in adjustable rate mortgages are expected to reset nationally, including
an estimated $14 billion in Ohio.3

A family coping with foreclosure faces not only the loss of their home, but also damaged
credit, which may affect their opportunities to borrow money at a reasonable interest rate for
years to come. Damaged credit may even restrict employment opportunities and the ability to
rent. The emotional strain can be just as serious as the economic strain.

The broader impact of foreclosures on a community is equally troubling. Foreclosures affect
the value of surrounding properties, and may impede others from selling their own homes
even though they have been faithfully making all of their mortgage payments. A community
with multiple foreclosures generates less property tax revenue to support all aspects of local
government such as schools, social programs and fire and safety services.

Although the facts on foreclosures are bleak right now, some help is available for
homeowners struggling with their mortgage. Throughout Ohio, local officials and non-profit
counseling organizations are assisting borrowers with counseling and helping them obtain
beneficial loan modifications. State agencies and office holders are directing borrowers to
solutions such as a national phone hotline that offers help to borrowers 24 hours a day, and
the Ohio Housing Finance Agency’s Opportunity Loan Refinance Program. The Task Force
recommendations focus on expanding and coordinating such efforts, providing more and
better options to homeowners, and helping communities recover from the long term impact
of foreclosures.
1
  Foreclosure Growth in Ohio, 2007. A Report from Policy Matters Ohio, March 2007.
2
  National Delinquency Survey, Second Quarter 2007, Mortgage Bankers Association.
3
  “Dimensions of Ohio’s Foreclosure Crisis,” Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO), March, 2007

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Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force

                  Recommendations

                     Encourage Borrowers to Get Help Early
                                          Recommendations 1-3
        A strong, consistent message is needed to encourage borrowers to seek help before they
        miss a mortgage payment or become seriously delinquent. The message must be credible to
        overcome the suspicion of borrowers besieged by less than honest offers of “help.” The Task
        Force has heard consistently from both lenders and counseling agencies that when consumers
        seek help early, there is a greater chance of success in avoiding foreclosure. The following
        actions are needed to encourage borrowers to seek help early, when they have the greatest
        chance of retaining their home.

            1.	 Conduct	a	public	awareness	campaign	and	borrower	outreach	events	to	
                encourage	borrowers	to	contact	their	lender	if	they	are	facing	an	ARM	reset	or	
                if	they	are	having	trouble	making	their	mortgage	payment. The State of Ohio
                should develop an earned media campaign so that more borrowers learn that they can
                and should seek assistance. These efforts should reinforce the messages of national
                and local organizations such as the Ad Council and their campaign: “Nothing’s
                worse than doing nothing.” The Governor should also work with servicers to invite
                borrowers to	outreach events	to directly link borrowers with their lenders as well as
                legal, counseling, and other intervention resources.

            2.	 Utilize	information	from	public	databases	to	identify	borrowers	who	are	at	risk	
                and	contact	them. One of the best ways to prevent foreclosures is to intervene with
                borrowers before they find themselves in financial difficulty. While borrowers often
                hear from loan-consolidation or debt-consolidation businesses that may or may not
                have the best interest of the borrower in mind, there are ways in which the government
                can provide reliable information to borrowers at risk. County treasurers, for example,
                can act as an early warning system by taking note of real estate tax delinquencies.

                    a.   Use	information	from	county	databases	to	identify	borrowers	who	are	at	
                         risk. County databases include mortgage recordings, delinquent property tax
                         information, and foreclosure filings. Using information from these databases to
                         identify borrowers who are at risk due to certain types of mortgage products,
                         county officials can reach out to borrowers before they are in trouble, while
                         respecting privacy interests. Following the example of Montgomery County,
                         the state should work closely with County Recorders to identify and contact
                         at-risk borrowers and refer them to legitimate counseling options.

                    b.   Obtain clarification on local outreach activities. If county officials are
                         uncertain about whether they have the authority to engage in certain efforts, the
                         Governor should encourage them to consult with their legal counsel, the county
                         prosecutor. If county prosecutors are uncertain as to whether county officials
                         may engage in certain outreach activities, the Governor should encourage
                         county prosecutors to seek an opinion from the Ohio Attorney General.


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    Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


    3.	 Maximize	every	available	resource	to	educate	consumers	and	connect	them	
        to	solutions. Borrowers need a variety of ways to access information and a
        variety of entry points, including a national hotline available 24 hours a day, local
        sources offering face-to-face counseling, websites and community organizations.
        Communication among all of the entities involved in the effort to prevent
        foreclosures is essential.

            a. Promote	both	888-995-HOPE	statewide	and	211	referral	services to	
               borrowers	in	need	in	Northeast	Ohio	and	other	areas	where	appropriate.	
               The magnitude of Ohio’s foreclosure problem requires a variety of referral
               resources. Some borrowers will benefit from the local resources linked
               through the 211 system while others can be assisted by the national hotline.
               These entry points are not mutually exclusive.

            b. Link	all	state	websites	with	foreclosure	information	for	consumers	
               from	one	central	portal.	HUD and other national groups have excellent
               general information and materials on foreclosure prevention on the web.
               State and local sites can provide further information on Ohio laws and local
               community resources. Ohio should develop a central portal that links to
               other state agency sites including the Ohio Department of Commerce, the
               Treasurer, the Attorney General, and OHFA, as well as outside agencies such
               as HUD.

            c.	 Utilize	local	coalitions	to	educate	and	aid	borrowers. Local coalitions
                can bring together foreclosure intervention resources from across each
                community and disseminate new programs as they are developed at the
                federal and state levels. The credibility of participating government officials
                helps distinguish these efforts from the many unhelpful or even detrimental
                notions that are touted to vulnerable homeowners. Treasurer Cordray
                has taken the lead to facilitate the creation of local coalitions, and should
                continue to encourage these efforts and share best practices. Local coalitions
                and resources are listed at www.ohiotreasurer.gov




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Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


        Expand Housing Counseling and Intervention Services
                                         Recommendations 4-6
        The Task Force heard from lenders and community leaders that when borrowers facing
        default or foreclosure are unable to resolve their situation directly with their lender, they
        should be referred to HUD-certified counseling agencies. The Task Force recognizes that the
        foreclosure crisis has severely stressed the capacity and resources of these agencies.

            4. Provide a total of $10 million for housing and financial counseling from local,
               state, federal and private sources, including at least $2 million in state funds.
               Counseling services are important not only to prevent foreclosure, but also to help
               people recover by building budgeting skills, re-establishing credit and connecting
               with community resources. An estimated $10 million per year is needed from federal
               and state local funds, together with donations from the industry and foundations, to
               provide adequate counseling resources during the critical high foreclosure period.
               The State of Ohio should consider the following:

                    a.	 Pursue	Congressional	funding. The State of Ohio should immediately press
                        Congress aggressively for funds to finance more borrower assistance efforts.
                        An optimal approach would be to allocate these resources disproportionately
                        to “high-foreclosure” states such as Ohio, and then to direct those resources
                        to the State for flexible distribution to local community groups in accordance
                        with an overall statewide plan.

                    b.	 Identify	and	immediately	allocate	funds	on an emergency basis to meet the
                        critical need for foreclosure prevention counselors until such time as other
                        funds are available.

                    c.	 Provide	at	least	$2	million	annually	in	state	funding	for non-profit housing
                        counselors, in addition to the funds already made available to counselors
                        through OHFA and the NeighborWorks Rescue Loan program, and other
                        state resources. The Ohio Housing Trust Fund could be a source of funds, if
                        appropriation authority is expanded. Funds should be distributed based on
                        areas of greatest need. They should also be directed to organizations with
                        the experience and capacity to provide comprehensive housing counseling,
                        including foreclosure prevention.

                    d.	 Consider	private	sources	for	additional	funds. Because the Trust Fund
                        is limited to programs serving households below 80 percent of the area
                        median income, the State should also look to private sources, such as banks,
                        mortgage companies, subprime loan servicers, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the
                        Federal Home Loan Bank, and private foundations for additional funding to
                        serve higher income borrowers.



                                                                                                        9
     Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


     5.	 Increase	the	capacity	of	housing	counseling	organizations	to	assist	borrowers	in	
        default and foreclosure. In addition to increasing funding, Ohio should support
        housing	counseling	efforts	as	follows:

            a.	 Designate	the	Ohio	Department	of	Development	as	the	lead	state	agency
                  to work with non-profit housing counselors.

            b.	 Develop	and	maintain	a	statewide	database	of	loss	mitigation	contacts
                  of those lenders and servicers that counselors and state agencies can use, and
                  disseminate this database to agencies throughout the local communities by all
                  available means.

            c.	 Work	with	local	coalitions	to develop a comprehensive resource list of
                  rescue programs, linked through state websites.

            d.	 Work	to	expand	the	number	of	Ohio	counseling	agencies	taking	referrals	
                  from	the	Homeownership	Preservation	Foundation’s	national	call	
                  center. Evaluate the effectiveness of the national call center and establish on-
                  going monitoring and problem resolution. Coordinate with those who staff
                  the national hotline (888-995-HOPE) to make sure they are fully informed
                  about local resources in Ohio, including local coalitions.

            e.	 Use the Ohio Benefit Bank to connect people with community resources.
                  The Ohio Benefit Bank is a web-based tool to help individuals and families
                  achieve self-sufficiency by connecting them with public benefits and
                  other resources. The Ohio Benefit Bank should investigate the potential
                  of programming a module specifically targeted to foreclosure prevention.
                  Based on the homeowner’s situation, the module would present options such
                  as refinancing or credit counseling appropriate for that borrower and their
                  mortgage situation.

            f.	 Encourage the expansion of financial literacy programs and	efforts	
                  to help people who rebuild their credit, especially through established
                  networks in the workplace, community organizations and other organizations.

            g.	 Encourage	best	practices	such	as	peer-to-peer	counseling where people
                  who have been through foreclosure work are paired with people who are
                  currently in crisis.

            h.	 Train	counselors	on	loss	mitigation	and	mortgage	terms.	Work with HUD
                  and other providers to offer training, particularly on loss mitigation and
                  identifying abusive mortgage terms and lending practices.

            i.	   Recognize	and	refer	cases	of	abusive	lending.	Require all agencies
                  receiving state or federal funds to have a protocol to review and refer cases of
                  abusive lending for legal assistance.
10
Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


         6.	 Expand	the	Ohio	Home	Rescue	Program. This statewide program provides
             financial assistance up to $3,000 to homeowners facing a short-term financial crisis
             who are in danger of losing their homes through foreclosure, and is coordinated by
             Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland in partnership with 11 other
             nonprofit organizations. The program is supported by $1 million from the Ohio
             Housing Trust Fund for grants to homeowners with incomes at or below 65 percent
             of the area median income, and $3.1 million from OHFA for deferred loans for
             homeowners with incomes between 65 and 125 percent of the area median income.
             These programs should be expanded to a broader network of agencies, and will need to
             be recapitalized in the near future. Clear program guidelines, trained staff and effective
             outreach are essential components to success. All programs should carefully track the
             outcomes for households assisted by rescue funds over a period of 36 months.

                          NeighborWorks®	Ohio	Foreclosure	Prevention	Initiative
                                                   Contact List
            Akron                                                     Columbus
            East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation           Columbus Housing Partnership
            Toya Kelker                                               Becky Hilbert
            550 S. Arlington St.                                      562 E. Main St.
            (330) 773-6838                                            (614) 221-8889

            Athens                                                    Dayton
            Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development              St. Mary Development Corporation
            Bernard Salzman                                           Dona Carlson
            One Pinchot Lane                                          371 W. 2nd St.
            (740) 594-8499                                            (937) 853-1600

            Barberton                                                 Hamilton
            Neighborhood Conservation Services of Barberton           Neighborhood Housing Services of Hamilton
            Karen Kennedy or Becky Geier                              Don Gardner
            470 W. Park Ave.                                          1326 Central Ave.
            (330) 753-8500                                            (513) 420-9193

            Cincinnati                                                Liberty Center
            The Home Ownership Center of Greater Cincinnati           Rural Opportunities, Inc. Ohio
            Kaye Britton                                              Maria Martinez
            2820 Vernon Place                                         2-453 Co. Rd. V
            (513) 961-2800                                            (419) 875-6654

            Cleveland                                                 Ravenna
            Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland        Neighborhood Development Services
            Liz Sanchez or Mahria Harris                              Liz Atkinson
            5700 Broadway Avenue                                      120 E. Main St.
            (216) 458-HOME (4663)                                     (330) 297-6400

            Springfield                                               Toledo
            Neighborhood Housing Partnership of Greater Springfield   Neighborhood Housing Services of Toledo
            Kerri Brammer                                             Alma Dortch or Pam Mayer
            20 S. Limestone St.                                       P.O. Box 8125
            (937) 322-4623                                            (419) 691-2900
                                                                                                             11
     Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


          Work with Lenders and Servicers to Maximize
                  Alternatives to Foreclosure
                                        Recommendations 7-11

Preventing foreclosure is in the best interest of homeowners, communities, loan servicers and
investors. Loss mitigation procedures used in the prime and government mortgage sectors
provide a good standard for working with borrowers from early delinquency through loss
mitigation or other disposition.4 Although subprime loans represent less than 20 percent of the
outstanding mortgages in Ohio included in the Mortgage Bankers Association 2007 second
quarter National Delinquency Survey, they represent 63 percent of the loans that are seriously
delinquent or in foreclosure. Because the subprime mortgages5 are the most significant
contributor to foreclosures in Ohio, the Task Force recommendations are focused primarily
on that sector.

     7. Advocate for clearer federal guidance and increased flexibility to protect
        investors and homeowners, and for the adoption of a model Pooling and
        Servicing	Agreement	(PSA).	In the months since the Task Force began its work,
        Congress and federal regulators have made great strides to clarify the authority
        of loan servicers to modify securitized mortgages. On July 18, the Securities and
        Exchange Commission (SEC) issued clarification regarding the FAS 140 accounting
        rule that “modifications undertaken when loan default is reasonably foreseeable
        should be consistent with the nature of modifications activities that would have
        been permitted if a default had occurred.” While this guidance is very helpful, it is
        untested. The often conflicting demands of various investors in a mortgage pool can
        still make foreclosure the legally safest choice for a servicer. With knowledge that
        most subprime servicers are fully subject to state authority, the State should:

               a.   Pursue options for loan modifications. Pursue all options specifically
                    available to the State and monitor servicers to ensure significant levels of
                    meaningful loan modifications as described in recommendation #8.
               b.   Seek additional flexibility. Urge Congress and federal regulators to continue
                    to open the door to greater flexibility for servicers to modify loan terms.
               c.   Encourage	PSA	amendments.	Explore all available options to ensure
                    greater latitude for servicers to modify loan terms, including amending
                    existing PSAs.
               d.   Support	a	Model	PSA.	Together with market participants, vigorously seek
                    adoption of a model PSA to provide servicers with safe harbor to work with
                    homeowners who are willing and able to negotiate reasonable workouts,
                    including loan modifications.
4
  For example, FHA requires servicers to follow specific loss mitigation steps, beginning with contacting the bor-
rower at early stages of delinquency, referral to a HUD-certified counseling agency, loss mitigation review by the
90th day a second review prior to foreclosure sale.
5
  A subprime loan is a rate spread home loan that has to be reported under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975
[Regulation C, 12 CFR, Section 203.4(a)(12)], and any loan that meets the criteria of a high-rate-high-fee mortgage.

12
Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force



             8.	 Urge loan servicers to exercise their discretion to achieve maximum flexibility in
                  modifying	loans	to	protect	investors	and	homeowners. Loan modifications should
                  be made available at any time from pre-default up to foreclosure sale, to the greatest
                  extent permitted under the servicer’s fiduciary and contractual obligations.6 When
                  loan modifications are based upon an assessment of affordability, they provide a long-
                  term solution for borrowers for the life of the loan. To succeed, servicers must have
                  the ability to restructure loans as follows:

                       a.	 Change interest rates from adjustable to fixed-rate.

                       b.	 Set	up	escrows. Include escrow for taxes and insurance in the affordability
                            calculation and mortgage payment.

                       c.	 Reduce	principal. Write down and forgive principal in excess of current
                            value, and /or to a reasonable debt-to-income ratio based on the household’s
                            verified income ensuring long term viability of the loan.

                       d.	 Waive	penalties	and	fees. Late charges, attorneys’ fees and other charges
                            create a barrier to loan modification and should be waived where possible, or
                            included in re-amortization.

                       e.	 Waive	pre-payment	penalties. Homeowners who are able to refinance into a
                            more suitable mortgage should be granted a waiver of pre-payment penalties
                            on request.7 Servicers who are limited by contractual or other obligations
                            from waiving prepayment penalties should cite the specific contract language
                            that restricts that loan.

                       f.	 Require	borrowers	to	work	with	credit	or	housing	counselors.

             9.	 Require servicers by statute, rule or other action, to notify borrowers in
                  subprime	adjustable	rate	mortgages	at	least	six	months	prior	to	reset..	Borrowers
                  with ARMs should be contacted prior to the loan reset to determine whether the new,
                  higher payment creates a reasonable risk of default based upon the borrower’s ability
                  to pay, and all other available facts and circumstances. The notice should include an
                  estimate of the new payment based on the best information currently available. The
                  servicer should explain what options are available to the borrower, including loan
                  modification.




        6
          “Successful loan modification programs can unquestionably benefit investors in RMBS through maximizing cash flows
        and reducing losses.” Changing Loss Mitigation Strategies for U.S. RMBS, Fitch Rating Special Report, June 4, 2007.
        7
          Note that rules implementing S.B. 185 prohibit prepayment penalties on mortgages less than $75,000.



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     Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force



     10.	 Urge	loan	servicers	to	pursue	all	workout	options	and	dedicate	resources	to	
        foreclosure	prevention. Servicers must have the capacity to do outreach and loan
        workouts on a larger scale and in a timely manner to prevent foreclosure on owner
        occupied homes. The State of Ohio should encourage servicers to:

            a. Extend	forbearance	and	catch-up	periods. In cases where an owner
               occupant has a temporary circumstance that causes an inability to make
               regular mortgage payments, the servicer may offer forbearance. Following
               the forbearance period, the amount of additional payment required over
               time to pay arrearages should be extended as long as necessary, based on a
               reasonable calculation of affordability.
            b. Establish	a	special	servicing	team	for	loan modifications supported with
               adequate staff and training.
            c. Contract	with	locally	based	third	parties	to assist with borrower outreach
               and counseling.
            d. Extend	existing	workout	agreements	with	third	party	organizations	in
               Ohio to other similar groups to increase the number and speed at which loan
               modifications can be completed.
            e. Provide	a	contact	person	and	phone	number	for government agencies and
               non-profit counselors to call regarding loss mitigation cases.
            f. Appoint	an	ombudsperson	to facilitate borrower contact and follow-up.

     11.	 Establish	policy	through	the	Department	of	Commerce	encouraging	responsible	
        loan modifications, and an investment policy through the Treasurer for those
        financial entities and their subsidiaries that invest state funds.

            a.	 Define acceptable standard of performance in mortgage workouts and
                loan modifications. The Director of Commerce should work with appropriate
                state officials to define best practices for servicing mortgage loans and to
                monitor, evaluate and provide incentives for lenders to comply with those
                practices. Lenders and servicers who demonstrate the best practices and
                maintain their designation from Commerce would qualify for various kinds of
                state assistance, including possible expedited processes for foreclosure on non-
                owner occupied or vacant properties.
            b.	 Establish	investment	criteria. While the committee recognizes that many
                sub-prime lenders are stand-alone entities that do not invest the funds of the
                state, there are several lenders whose parent companies are multi-national
                financial firms. It is prudent for the State Treasurer to conduct an audit of the
                state’s investments to determine if any such relationships exist. In cooperation
                with the Department of Commerce, the Treasurer should establish investment
                criteria for those entities whose lending practices, or the lending practices of
                their subsidiaries, are deemed harmful to the state. If a lender, or one of its
                subsidiaries, is engaged in lending practices that are being discouraged by the
                Department of Commerce, the state should not be rewarding the lender with
                investment contracts paid for by the taxpayers of Ohio.
14
Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


              Provide Options for Homeowners to Refinance or
                       Restructure Their Mortgages
                                             Recommendations 12-13

        An estimated $14 billion of subprime ARMs with initial fixed-rate periods will reset at much
        higher rates, impacting an estimated 200,000 Ohio borrowers over the next two years.8
        The high foreclosure rate and slow economy has resulted in flat or negative home price
        appreciation in many Ohio markets, which traps borrowers in homes they can’t afford and
        can’t sell.9 Loan modification and refinancing are two of the best options for homeowners
        who desire to stay in their homes.

            12.	 Provide	income	tax	forgiveness	on	loan	readjustments.	As servicers work with
                 borrowers to avoid foreclosure, in some circumstances the amount of debt owed on
                 a given property may be reduced as part of a loan modification. The IRS treats the
                 forgiven debt as income, thereby penalizing the borrower and further exacerbating
                 their financial hardship.	A solution is the bipartisan Mortgage Cancellation Tax Relief
                 Act of 2007 (H.R. 1876, and S. 1394), which would eliminate the tax on individual
                 income that results from debt forgiveness on primary residences up to the amount
                 of the original purchase price of the property plus the cost of improvements. The
                 Governor should use all available resources to advocate that Congress take action
                 on these resolutions as soon as possible. An Ohio resolution has been introduced in
                 support of the federal Mortgage Relief Act (S. 1394). Until federal legislation is passed
                 allowing for the change to adjusted gross income (AGI), the state of Ohio continues
                 to tax this forgiven debt as well, treating it as income. State legislation (H.B. 304) has
                 been introduced that would allow for a deduction against the state income tax for home
                 mortgage debt forgiveness for purchase mortgages on primary residences only. Any
                 action taken by the state would be nullified if Congress enacts S. 1394.




        8
          “Dimensions of Ohio’s Foreclosure Crisis,” Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO), March, 2007.
        9
          “Many borrowers are in homes or have mortgages that severely stretch their budgets. Declining home values and
        tightening credit standards on new originations have reduced refinancing opportunities for many borrowers. This
        results in more borrowers needing either alternate work-out strategies or assistance in removing themselves from
        the situation.” Changing Loss Mitigation Strategies for U.S. RMBS, Fitch Rating Special Report, June 4, 2007.




                                                                                                                      15
     Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


     13. Provide affordable fixed-rate financing options for borrowers seeking to
         refinance their mortgage. Recent developments in the national mortgage markets to
         tighten underwriting standards, while positive in the long run, can trap people who
         are already in subprime loans who need to refinance. It is critical for homeowners to
         have access to mortgage credit and loan products that provide for long term stability.
         The State of Ohio should:

              a. Expand OHFA underwriting flexibilities. Ohio Housing Finance Agency
                 (OHFA) should continue the Opportunity Loan Refinance Program, with
                 additional underwriting flexibilities that became effective September 5, so
                 that more borrowers may access the program. The Opportunity Loan allows
                 lenders to originate fixed-rate, fully documented mortgage loans for eligible
                 borrowers which will be purchased by the OHFA using taxable bonds, at no
                 cost to Ohio taxpayers.

              b. Press	the	Federal	Home	Loan	Bank10, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac to
                 make good on their general commitments to make considerable resources
                 available for refinancing troubled mortgages.

              c. Work with HUD to promote refinance options using FHA loans. On
                 August 31, President Bush announced a new FHASecure plan, to allow
                 families with strong credit histories who had been making timely mortgage
                 payments before their loans reset—but are now in default—to qualify for
                 refinancing.

              d. Encourage prime lenders to offer flexible, affordable refinance loans
                 utilizing resources of the Federal Home Loan Bank, Fannie Mae and Freddie
                 Mac, as well as their own portfolio lending products.




10
  The Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati’s HomeProtect Program (HPP) is a $250 million set-aside of the
Community Investment Program to encourage member financial institutions to provide first mortgage refinancing
to homeowners with incomes at or below 115 percent of HUD area median incomes who are at risk of delinquency
or default. The HomeProtect Program provides a discount off regular advance programs, providing funds at the
FHLBank’s cost of funds.

16
Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


                        Improve Ohio’s Foreclosure Process
                                        Recommendations 14-16

        Several obstacles which contribute to the inability of the courts to affect the prompt resolution
        of foreclosure actions include: 1) overburdened dockets, which prevent courts from devoting
        sufficient time to scrutinize foreclosure pleadings, or conduct hearings on foreclosure cases
        as deemed appropriate by the court; 2) insufficient resources to hire more magistrates or staff
        attorneys to provide a meaningful review of possible defenses; and 3) the inability of owner
        occupants to obtain necessary legal representation in foreclosure cases.

            14.	 Improve	homeowner	access	to	information	and	to	legal	counsel.	Homeowners in
                 many cases lack information about the foreclosure process and resources available in
                 their communities. Through various methods, Ohio should:
                    a.	 Provide	additional	information	to	homeowners	facing	foreclosure. In
                        some counties, the Clerks of Court include basic information and a list of
                        resources with the delivery of the foreclosure complaint. The Governor
                        should encourage the judicial branch to give clear authority to Clerks of
                        Court to provide such information when they deliver foreclosure complaints.
                    b.	 Provide	incentives	for	lawyers	to	represent	borrowers. The Governor
                        should encourage the Supreme Court of Ohio to provide strong incentives
                        for all lawyers in Ohio to volunteer their time in state or federal court, to
                        either provide pro bono representation of homeowners in foreclosure cases,
                        to financially support volunteer lawyers programs affiliated with local bar
                        associations or other special projects. The Governor could collaborate with
                        the Supreme Court and others to publicly recognize and honor attorneys
                        who willingly fulfill their essential role in mitigating the serious effect of the
                        foreclosure crisis on Ohio’s citizens and its economy.




                                                                                                        17
     Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


     15.	 Encourage	mediation	and	alternative	dispute	resolution	to	maximize	the	early	
        resolution	of	foreclosure	actions.	Overburdened dockets prevent courts from
        devoting sufficient time to scrutinize foreclosure pleadings, or conduct hearings in
        every foreclosure case. In order to address this problem, the Governor should:

            a.   Work	with	the	Ohio	Supreme	Court	to	ensure	that	existing	mediation	
                 and	alternative	dispute	resolution	methods	are	used in	foreclosure	cases
                 as in other civil cases to maximize loss mitigation and early resolution of
                 foreclosure actions.

            b.   Encourage	the	Supreme	Court	of	Ohio	to	provide	guidance	to	the	
                 common pleas courts on finding appropriate funding to hire staff needed
                 to facilitate meaningful reviews of disputed foreclosure cases, including but
                 not limited to, increased filing fees for additional staff or special projects,
                 as permitted by R.C. 2303.201(E)(1). The Supreme Court should help find
                 funding to develop pilot projects for use of special masters, law school
                 clinics, law student interns, or other qualified volunteers, and to evaluate and
                 disseminate information after successful projects are identified.

            c.   Ask	judicial	leaders	to	develop	a	model	case	management	rule.	
                 Encourage the Supreme Court of Ohio Rules Committee, the Ohio Judicial
                 Conference, the Common Pleas Judges Association and the Ohio Association
                 of Magistrates to work together to draft a model local case management rule
                 for adoption statewide by common pleas courts for consistency in judicial
                 oversight of the foreclosure process and to maximize the early resolution of
                 foreclosure actions.
                 	 The rule should provide a way to identify those foreclosures involving
                     owner-occupied homes, and, in appropriate cases, to provide the
                     opportunity to such parties of a judicially supervised alternative dispute
                     resolution program where a mutually beneficial result is possible.
                 	 To facilitate the early discovery of issues that affect resolution of
                     foreclosure cases, the local rule should also mandate that supporting
                     documentation should be attached to the complaint, including:
                       •	 Assignment of the note and mortgage, proving current ownership
                           and standing to file the action as the real party in interest;
                       •	 A copy of the HUD-1 settlement statement; and
                       •	 A complete loan payment history, including disclosure of any and
                           all charges and fees added in connection with the alleged default.




18
Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


         16.	 Expedite	the	post-judgment	process	of	property	transfer. Once foreclosure
              judgment has been entered, it is in the best interests of communities, neighborhoods
              and taxpayers to get the property into the hands of the new owner as quickly as
              possible. A quick sale should preserve the value of the property to the mutual benefit
              of all parties.
                 a. Utilize	court	appointed	specialists	such	as	commissioners	or	special	
                    masters	in	state	courts	to	expedite	the	process	in	appropriate	cases. As a
                    model, a special master system is currently in use by the Ohio federal courts.
                    Federal judges are appointing master commissioners, as permitted by Ohio
                    Revised Code, Chapter 2329, to administer the post-judgment process from
                    entry of judgment to transfer of title.
                 b. Examine	the	sheriff’s	sale	process	as part of a larger assessment of the
                    foreclosure process in Ohio to determine if improvements can be made
                    throughout the state.
                 c. Develop	a	system	to	expedite	the	transfer	of	investor	properties. One
                    of the factors currently clogging the courts is the large number of investor-
                    owned properties. In the future, the State of Ohio should carefully consider
                    the benefits and risks of establishing a two-track system that would quickly
                    move investor properties from default through foreclosure to transfer of title
                    to the purchaser at a sale.




                                                                                                  19
     Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


               Strengthen Protections for Homeowners
                                     Recommendations 17-20

Regulatory oversight and diligent law enforcement are needed to ensure that state-
regulated financial institutions adhere to Ohio laws that were written to protect con-
sumers in mortgage transactions.

     17.	 Adopt	the	Conference	of	State	Bank	Supervisors’	Guidance	on	Subprime	
         Mortgages	as	standard	for	state-regulated	non-bank	lenders	to	the	extent	not	
         already	addressed	by	Senate	Bill	185	(S.B.	185)

              a.	 Ohio	should	join	with	other	states who have endorsed the Conference of
                   State Bank Supervisors’ guidance, which mirrors the statement of federal
                   bank regulators11 regarding management practices, underwriting standards
                   and consumer protection provisions that should be followed when marketing
                   and selling certain adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) products to sub-prime
                   borrowers. The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) statement
                   specifically addresses non-depository lenders and brokers, and was jointly
                   issued with the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators
                   (AARMR), and the National Association of Consumer Credit Administrators
                   (NACCA).

              b.	 Pursue	rulemaking	or	statutory	changes	as	needed.	Ohio is well on the
                   way to implementing this guidance as a result of S.B. 185, Ohio’s predatory
                   lending law, which was passed by the 126th General Assembly and took effect
                   on January 1, 2007. It applied significant changes to mortgage lending and
                   appraisal practices in the state of Ohio. However, if additional rulemaking
                   or statutory change is required to fully implement the policy, Ohio should
                   pursue the necessary steps.




11
  The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office
of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the National Credit Union Administration




20
Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


         18.	 Encourage County Auditors to use valuation methods that accurately reflect
             market conditions,	and to examine artificially inflated property transfers and
             alert	law	enforcement	about	suspicious	activity.
         	
                 a. Provide	state	direction	regarding	valuations.	Direct the state tax
                    commissioner in consultation with county auditors to review the existing
                    sextennial valuation and triennial update process to determine ways to
                    more accurately reflect current market valuations. Housing markets are
                    cyclical and during a downward turn, tax assessment should fairly reflect
                    lower values. Current law provides for county auditors to conduct regular
                    reassessments and a process to appeal those assessments.

                  b. Report	suspicious	real	estate	transactions. While there are many causes
                      for foreclosures, it is quite clear that there is a direct correlation between
                      unscrupulous real estate practices and the explosion of foreclosure cases in
                      certain communities. This is evidenced by investigations currently being
                      conducted by the United States Attorney and by Ohio Attorney General Marc
                      Dann. The properties impacted by such practices often dramatically shift in
                      value, as determined by sale price, in short periods of time. County auditors
                      are uniquely qualified to identify suspicious transfers because they have
                      access to property transfer information and understand the appropriate values
                      of properties. Using the tools available in the county auditor’s office, as has
                      been done in Hamilton County, is a proactive way to identify suspicious
                      behavior and share the information with the Attorney General or local county
                      prosecutors before the parties involved are able to replicate the practices and
                      undermine the housing stock in the community.
                  	
         19. Require subprime mortgage servicers to file a worksheet with the State of
             Ohio	containing	information	about	the	mortgage	loan	terms	at	the	time	of	
             filing a foreclosure complaint. The information would be used by the Department
             of Commerce and the Attorney General to determine if the mortgage terms were
             consistent with state law. The Department of Commerce will work with interested
             parties to develop the process.

         20.	 Require	all	mortgage	lenders	to	offer	the	option	to	escrow	tax	and	insurance.
              Most subprime loans do not offer borrowers the choice to have their tax and
              insurance payments included in the monthly mortgage payment to the servicer. State
              and federal law should be amended to require all mortgage loan servicers to offer this
              option. In addition, the Task Force recommends that Congress amend the federal
              Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) to allow servicers to escrow tax and
              insurance based upon projected taxes. This change would help purchasers of new
              homes whose tax escrows do not reflect the value of the improved property at the
              time of closing.




                                                                                                  21
      Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


                      Help Communities Recover from the
                          Aftermath of Foreclosures
                                       Recommendations 21-27
The scope of the foreclosure crisis and the number of abandoned buildings left in its wake is far
beyond the capacity of local jurisdictions. While local communities are allocating resources,
these efforts represent only a fraction of the funds required to rehabilitate, demolish or
transfer the thousands of properties impacted. The following recommendations will give local
communities more tools and resources to address the aftermath of foreclosure.
     21.	 Include	a	major	initiative	in	the	Governor’s	Urban	Agenda	to	address	vacant	
          housing	and	revitalize	neighborhoods.	The high level of foreclosures in many
          communities has resulted in a rapid increase in the number of vacant and abandoned
          houses, accelerating the cycle of falling values and shrinking demand. A Cleveland study
          found that more than half of the vacant properties had a foreclosure associated with them.12
          The loss of population and jobs in many Ohio communities has created weak markets that
          defy traditional redevelopment strategies. In these areas, local stakeholders must make an
          honest assessment as to whether structures and whole residential areas are appropriate for
          rehabilitation or need more drastic redevelopment measures. The scale and impact of the
          problem is on the level of a natural disaster, warranting emergency assistance from state and
          federal government. The state initiative should do the following:
                 a.   Provide planning and demonstration grants over the next two fiscal
                      years	to	help	communities	develop	comprehensive	strategies to establish
                      stability, quality and a sense of place in neighborhoods ravaged by foreclosure
                      and vacancy. These locally driven strategies may include code enforcement,
                      demolition, land banking and redevelopment, and must go beyond transaction-
                      level projects or management of scattered site inventories. They should focus
                      on defined target areas with a multi-year perspective.
                 b.   Provide	incentive	grants	in	future	years	that would be allocated on a
                      competitive basis to communities who make comprehensive solutions for
                      vacant and abandoned housing a high priority. The grants could be used
                      for demolition or redevelopment in targeted geographic areas where the
                      community has a long term redevelopment plan.
                 c.   Encourage	mixed-income	and	mixed-use	development. Existing housing
                      and community development resources, restricted to serving households at
                      or below 80 percent of area median income, could be combined with the new
                      state capital resources to allow comprehensive strategies to succeed.
                 d.   Leverage	local	and	private	resources. It will take several years and millions
                      of dollars to address the vacant housing problem, but state funds can be a
                      catalyst for action. The Governor should explore all options to use limited state
                      funds to leverage local and private investments in strategic and targeted efforts
                      to address vacant housing.

12
     Cleveland at the Crossroads, National Vacant Properties Campaign, June 2005.
22
Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


          22.	 Utilize	surplus	county	Delinquent	Tax	Administration	and	Collection	(DTAC)	
              funds to support local efforts for mortgage rescue, foreclosure prevention,
              and	demolition	of	vacant	houses. Ohio’s recently passed budget bill, Am. Sub.
              H.B. 119, authorized Cuyahoga County to utilize their DTAC funds for this
              purpose, making as much as $3 million available to support critical local efforts to
              combat foreclosure. Following that example, the Ohio Legislature should consider
              expanding this effort to cover other counties willing and able to use DTAC funds.

          23.	 Reallocate	existing	state	resources	to	put	a	greater	emphasis	on	foreclosure	
              prevention	and	recovery.	Recognizing the severity of the foreclosure crisis that
              has not yet reached its peak, the Governor should ask the Ohio Department of
              Development and the Ohio Housing Finance Agency to examine the full range of
              affordable housing resources to assess how they might be reallocated over the next
              two to three years to initiatives that address foreclosure.	Possible examples might
              include:
                	 Put a greater emphasis on housing preservation in the OHFA Housing
                    Development Gap Financing homeownership program.
                	 Provide relocation assistance to seniors.
                	 Use Low Income Housing Tax Credits to help redevelop vacant properties.
                	 Expand employer-assisted housing programs.

          24.	 Facilitate	land	banking	of	properties	and	loosen	restrictions	on	local	
              jurisdictions	trying	to	gain	control	over	tax	delinquent	properties.	Land
              banking is a critical tool for municipalities to control vacant and abandoned
              properties. The state should stress the importance of local government cooperation
              to enable full utilization of existing statutes regarding acquisition of tax delinquent
              properties. Additional tools may be needed to streamline the acquisition process,
              particularly for properties with local tax liens, and allow for properties to be
              transferred with clear title to redevelopment entities.




                                                                                                   23
     Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


     25.	 Immediately	record	deeds	at	sheriff	sale	(Foley-Blessing	H.B.	138).	A very seri-
          ous challenge facing neighborhoods with a significant number of vacant properties is
          being able to identify the deed holder responsible for maintenance and repair of the
          property. House Bill 138 will take the mystery out of who owns foreclosed properties
          by requiring sheriffs to file the deeds 14 days after confirmation of sale from the sher-
          iff sale auction. Currently, the process for transferring titled ownership of these prop-
          erties lies with the sheriff creating a sheriff’s deed and then giving the deed to the
          new owner of the property, usually the foreclosing financial agency. The new owner
          is then supposed to file the deed with the County Recorder’s office. With increasing
          frequency, however, the foreclosing agents do not file the deeds promptly. By failing
          to file the deed, they avoid payment of property taxes, compliance with local building
          codes, and the local fees associated with nuisance abatement. This creates a situation
          where local jurisdictions and neighboring property owners cannot identify the prop-
          erty owner in order to hold him/her accountable for the condition of the home.13

     26.	 Modify	Ohio	receivership	law.	Receivership can be an effective tool for
          communities to gain control over abandoned properties. The committee recommends
          that the General Assembly work with the Ohio CDC Association in updating Ohio’s
          receivership law. Such changes should reflect the state’s interest in reclaiming
          and abating nuisance properties and returning such properties to the tax rolls in an
          efficient responsible manner.

     27.	 Target	lease-option	scams	by	restricting	initiation	fees	and	requiring	clear	
          disclosures.	Citizens in the State of Ohio have been increasingly victimized by
          “scam” lease-option contracts. These agreements, characterized as extended purchase
          agreements, often include excessive initiation fees, inflated monthly payments,
          hair-trigger termination clauses and an abdication of the owner’s maintenance
          responsibilities under Ohio’s landlord-tenant law. The General Assembly should
          enact legislation similar in concept to the lease-option pilot program in Cincinnati
          that would protect all Ohio citizens.14




13
   One study from Cuyahoga County found over 1,300 post foreclosure properties where deeds had not been filed
since 2005.
14
   In Cincinnati, a landlord is required to give a tenant a pamphlet which explains, in detail, the differences be-
tween a “Lease Option to Purchase,” and a regular rental agreement. The Cincinnati ordinance restricts the amount
paid in up front fees and requires clear disclosures. Since its enactment, Cincinnati has seen a significant decline in
this predatory practice. However, investors continue to engage in such practices beyond the city’s boundaries.


24
    Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force

                                                 Minority Reports



August 30, 2007


The Honorable Kimberly Zurz, Director
Ohio Department of Commerce
77 South High St. 21st Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

RE: Comments of the Ohio Bankers League on the Recommendations of the Foreclosure Prevention Task Force

Director Zurz:

The Ohio Bankers League1 thanks the Strickland administration for allowing our organization the opportunity for input
on Ohio’s foreclosure issue. You and your staff are to be complimented for bringing together a very diverse group of
Ohioans in an effort to develop recommendations to address the current foreclosure rate in Ohio, which is high by historical
standards. Throughout the process you were very open in soliciting our input, and we always felt you were trying to work
toward a report that could be supported by the full task force. Nevertheless, we respectfully disagree with several of the
recommendations in the final report, and for the reasons detailed within this comment the OBL must file this minority report.

While we oppose the report of the Foreclosure Prevention Task Force, there are still some good suggestions contained in
the report and others that are well intentioned. Some of these recommendations were advocated by the bankers involved
throughout the Task Force deliberations and are described below. For example, the Task Force recognizes there are flaws with
Ohio’s current foreclosure process. Further, the OBL agrees all stakeholders could benefit if reasonable steps were taken to
enable a foreclosure to move forward more efficiently and expeditiously. Additionally, the OBL is in agreement that with the
Task Force that a key part to any long term solution will be better financial literacy and education on financial issues.




1
 The Ohio Bankers League [“OBL”] is a non-profit trade association that represents the interests of Ohio’s commercial banks, savings banks, savings
associations and their holding companies. The OBL has nearly 230 member financial institutions that include the full spectrum of the financial ser-
vices industry, from small savings associations that are organized as under mutual ownership to large multistate holding companies that have several
affiliates and do business from coast to coast. Virtually every OBL member makes loans secured by mortgages on residential real estate, and have
done so for decades. As a result, our entire membership will be impacted by the recommendations of the Foreclosure Prevention Task Force.



                                                                                                                                                 25
     Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


Solutions	the	Ohio	Bankers	League	Recommends
During the course of the Task Force hearings, the OBL has consistently advocated a multi-pronged
approach to best protect mortgage consumers.

       n Vigorously	enforce	existing	laws. Laws were put in place several years ago (SB 76,
         HB 386) intended to increase the regulatory scrutiny of mortgage brokers and non-bank
         mortgage lenders. More recently, in January 2007, the provisions of SB 185 became
         law. These included more stringent consumer protections and additional licensing and
         regulatory authority for the Department of Commerce over mortgage brokers, non-bank
         lenders and appraisers. Discussions in the Task Force revealed that there is a lack of
         understanding regarding these new mortgage lending provisions. Rather than enacting
         even more laws, the State of Ohio should ensure adequate resources are committed to
         enforce existing laws as the best way of proactively protecting consumers.
       n Ohio	must	support	the	federal	mortgage	regulators.	Another critical step to protect
         consumers involves the State’s adoption of the Council of State Bank Supervisors
         Statement on Subprime Lending. The CSBS Statement has already been endorsed by
         28 states, and mirrors federal regulatory requirements already applicable to banks and
         thrifts. Adoption would better ensure a more level playing field for the various mortgage
         lenders because it would result in higher regulatory standards for mortgage entities
         regulated by the State.
       n Homeowner	bailouts	are	not	in	anyone’s	long-term	best	interest.	The OBL is
         pleased that the draft report does not recommend a bailout of homeowners facing
         foreclosure. There was concern that the bank and thrift lenders would be required to
         fund a bailout of homeowners harmed by irresponsible subprime lenders. The vast
         majority of Ohio homeowners are making their monthly mortgage payments. A bailout
         would encourage the same risky behavior in the future and seriously undermine the
         borrowers that are current on their loans.
       n Bank lenders have mortgage refinance options for qualified troubled borrowers.
         The Federal Home Loan Bank, Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Fannie Mae, Freddie
         Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration are all creating new refinancing products
         so that financially troubled borrowers have another option to remain in their home.
         Many OBL members will deliver these products to market. This further underscores the
         commitment of Ohio banks and thrifts to work with willing borrowers to enable them to
         remain homeowners in instances that are financially viable.
       n Financial	literacy	programs	need	to	be	promoted	as	long-term	preemptive	
         solutions.	The OBL is partnered with the Teachers Academy to use bankers from
         around the State as local resources for teachers and to provide classroom materials.
         Education is a critical step to help borrowers understand their options and know when
         they are being deceived. It is also beneficial for borrowers to learn about resources that
         are available in their communities to help them weigh what will likely be the largest
         financial decision of their life.




26
Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


      As it is currently drafted however, there are several recommendations within the Task Force report
      that we believe could have dramatic negative consequences on Ohio’s economy, and specifically
      on the housing industry. These concerns are compounded by provisions that we firmly believe will
      have an adverse effect on regulated bank lenders and servicers, restricting the availability of credit
      to worthy and responsible borrowers. These concerns are detailed below.

      The	Task	Force	recommendations	do	not	distinguish	between	regulated	
      and	unregulated	entities.
      The OBL is very disappointed that the report as well as the discussion during Task Force meetings
      did not adequately distinguish between those lenders such as banks and thrifts that are already
      heavily regulated and frequently examined, and those entities that have escaped comprehensive
      regulation in the past.

      It is important to note U.S. House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank recognizes very
      clearly that the majority of loans now in danger of foreclosure were originated by unregulated
      mortgage brokers. Chairman Frank has also made it very clear that the federal response to these
      same issues must focus on those entities that are currently beyond the reach of the federal regulators:

                 “It is the under-regulated sector of the mortgage industry that has disproportionately
                 contributed to the large number of imprudently made loans…All mortgage originators must
                 be subject to reasonable regulation substantively similar to those that apply to depository
                 institutions.”2

      In spite of this thoughtful guidance from the policy maker that will be the primary author of the
      federal response to foreclosure issues, many of the Task Force recommendations will sweep both
      regulated and unregulated lenders and servicers into these new solutions. Examples of these broad
      new requirements that attempt to include everyone are the proposal for a new filing with the
      Department of Commerce prior to proceeding with a foreclosure,3 as well as mandating compliance
      with a new checklist of requirements as a precondition to doing business with the State of Ohio.

      In addition, by developing a brand new definition for “subprime” lending, the Task Force almost
      guarantees that banks and thrifts that have provided credit in all segments of their communities for
      generations will be drawn into the new requirements. Instead of adopting the definition for subprime
      loans used by federal regulators since 2001, the Task Force is recommending that the State go an
      entirely new and different direction. Not only is any potential for consistency destroyed, but the
      definition used sets the standard so that it is sure to sweep in many regulated lenders that will be
      shocked to learn that they are viewed by the State as subprime lenders for the first time.4

       2
         Statement by US House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, published in the Financial Times on
       August 19, 2007.
       3
         The details of this new disclosure were not provided in the report, however the OBL is concerned this disclosure will
       result in an invasion of borrowers’ privacy. The state appears to be seeking nonpublic personal information that banks are
       otherwise required to protect under federal law.
       4
         The Foreclosure Prevention Task Force reached into the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act to define a subprime law for
       Ohio. This surprised the regulated lenders because HMDA is a disclosure statute that does not even address the issue of
       subprime lending. Thus, in Ohio a reporting statute will be used as a proxy for defining subprime, instead of referring to
       generally accepted definitions of subprime lending.
                                                                                                                               27
     Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


Much	of	the	work	of	the	Task	Force	was	focused	on	coercing	lenders	to	
rewrite	existing	loans.	
Perhaps the OBL’s biggest concern is the emphasis of the Task Force on coercing lenders to rewrite
existing loans on terms that might be more favorable to borrowers who cannot or will not fulfill
their original obligation. During the Task Force meetings this was routinely referred to as the “carrot
and stick” approach. No attempt has been made to restrict this extraordinary remedy to loans with
predatory features as defined in applicable state and federal law.

The OBL does not believe that the State has the authority to interfere with existing contracts, short
of being able to show fraud or other violation of law at the inception of the transaction. In a letter to
the members of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney
Frank has already gone on record on this issue.

         “We cannot constitutionally legislate people out of contracts they have already signed.”5

Unfortunately, this contractual “do-over” sought by the task force is not restricted to just contracts
between the lender (or servicer) and the borrower. In recommendation 7, the task force explicitly
seeks to amend all servicing agreements and goes on to suggest a uniform servicing contract. In
recommendation 9, the task force seeks to override the contractual commitment in all adjustable
rate mortgages by requiring a six month notice of any potential reset in rate.6 We are unaware of any
authority to make this change to existing contracts, and we see nothing in this proposal that limits
this requirement to subprime loans, or to 2/28 or 3/27 loans.

When the Task Force first began debating the idea of “best practices,” it seemed as though members
were looking at loan practices, much as the General Assembly did last session in SB 185. During
the debate and discussion, however, it became clear that rather than determining what constitutes
acceptable loan provisions, the Task Force recommendations focus on what pressure the State
of Ohio can bring to bear to force servicers to write down existing loans to terms that are more
favorable to borrowers. It is explicit that no loan or loan provision is safe. Indeed, one member of
the Task Force was explicit in stating a desire to approve only those servicers that really work to
offer Ohioans the best possible write downs.

Although the Task Force stated a desire to focus on the problems within the subprime loan industry,
there is nothing in the report that appears to limit these rewrites to only subprime loans. In fact,
the report seems to extend the same privileges to all consumers whether their predicament was the
result of more traditional reasons for foreclosure such as job loss due to Ohio’s slowing economy or
even just reaching too far to “keep up with the Joneses.”




5
 Letter by Barney Frank to Democratic members of the US House, dated August 3, 2007.
6
 Recommendation 9 also requires that an estimate of the new payment six months in advance of reset. Since ARMs are
based on an index, we have no idea how lenders or servicers will be able to guess what interest rates will be at some
point in the future.

28
Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


      As OBL representatives stated during several Task Force meetings, one of the biggest flaws with
      the report is that some of the recommended solutions take aim at Ohio banks doing business
      with the State, rather than mortgage brokers and non-bank lenders that helped create the current
      environment. Small unregulated mortgage brokers have no desire or ability to provide the State
      of Ohio with investment, transfer agent, deposit, trust, custody or other financial services. Yet the
      biggest “stick” in the report is reserved for banks that provide good value to the State by providing
      these services. As we read the Task Force recommendations, unless banks measure up to a new set
      of lending standards developed by the Department on mortgage loans they either own or service,
      those business relationships will be in jeopardy.7 It is not clear from recommendation 11b if state
      contractors will also be required to participate in the write downs required by recommendation 11a.

      The biggest adverse consequence to the State of Ohio for coercing lenders to rewrite existing loans
      is not just the losses on currently delinquent loans. Forcing loans to be rewritten will begin to
      undermine performing loans. That opens Ohio to a potential long-term disaster. If one borrower in a
      community gets the benefit of new and more favorable loan terms thanks to the state’s intervention,
      his/her neighbor will consider himself/herself a fool for continuing to pay back a loan according to
      its current terms.

      Several	of	the	recommendations	to	update	the	foreclosure	process	will	
      only extend the time property is stuck in foreclosure, to the detriment of
      Ohio	communities.
      The OBL believes the task force got it right when it recommended that the foreclosure process is
      too long. In several counties in Ohio, the time frame from initial complaint to obtaining possession
      of the property can be more than a year. That’s much longer than most other states and communities
      suffer when a home is stuck in limbo for that long. While the final Task Force Report recommends
      expediting the post-judgment process of transferring property in forclosure, unfortunately there
      are several other suggestions in the report that may frustrate that goal of a quicker transition.
      For example, in recommendation 8 the task force proposed that servicers still consider loan
      modifications after foreclosure judgment. To the extent modifications are appropriate, we would
      urge that they be pursued before the courts valuable time has been used.

      Similarly, we are concerned that the injection of alternate dispute resolution into the foreclosure
      process will change the character of the proceeding. Currently, the process is a very simple
      adjudication where the lender presents evidence that the note has not been paid according to its terms,
      and the borrower has the opportunity to present any defenses. The introduction of arbitration or
      mediation implies that someone other than a judge has the authority to force some other result than to
      grant or deny the foreclosure. This changes, and potentially lengthens the process even further.




      7
        Much more than just state business for big, sophisticated banks is at stake here. It is common practice for local
      governments to look to the state treasurer to set the standard for banking relationships. Thus, if the state were to imple-
      ment the task force recommendations, we would expect Ohio’s cities, counties and other subdivisions to follow in their
      relationships with community banks.

                                                                                                                              29
     Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


There are several ways the state is harmed if it does not act to streamline the foreclosure process.
First, every day the property sits vacant or is not being maintained, the value declines. This
deterioration harms every other home owner in the community. Second, if the property continues
to lose value while it sits unprotected, lenders are going to begin to tighten lending standards or
require much higher down payments. This will shut out otherwise qualified borrowers from the
housing market, prolonging the current slump. Third, any delay in the prudent, legal foreclosure
process delays the collection of much needed real estate taxes at the peril of Ohio’s counties and
municipalities until the sale is consummated.

It	would	help	the	state	develop	better	solutions	to	current	problems	in	the	
housing	market	if	it	were	to	carefully	analyze	public	data	on	foreclosure.
Unfortunately, the Foreclosure Prevention Task Force did not take the time to develop solid
research on all of the causes for the increase in foreclosure. There are Task Force members who are
conducting research on local markets in conjunction with local bankers, and these efforts should be
commended. It would still help the State tailor solutions however if it had comprehensive data on
these issues. For example, we heard testimony from Freddie Mac that over 2/3 of its foreclosures are
a result of more traditional reasons, such as job loss. There is strong evidence within our industry
that Ohio’s higher than average foreclosures are directly related to the decline of manufacturing and
the negative impact that has had on the Ohio economy. If the policymakers have clear data in front
of them confirming that reality as they are considering the problem of high foreclosures, it is likely
that a bigger part of the State’s response would be devoted to economic development. Instead, this
report recommends a series of solutions that assumes that everyone in foreclosure is a “victim” of a
loan that they should not be in.

Conclusion
Ultimately, several of the recommendations in this report will make it more difficult and expensive
for everyone to obtain residential housing financing in Ohio, not just those with less than prime
credit. As we learned throughout the Task Force meetings, mortgage credit relies on national
markets. If those investors and lenders perceive that it is more difficult to collect loans in Ohio, they
will simply bypass this state and lend their money to homeowners in other states. Worse, if there is
any requirement to rewrite existing loans, there is a danger that the State could undermine currently
performing loans. All of these outcomes have the risk of taking a cyclical problem related to Ohio’s
shrinking economy and converting it into a long-term disaster for everyone.

As the State of Ohio continues to address the challenges of our citizens, the Ohio Bankers League
and our members look forward to working with the administration to develop solutions to the high
rate of mortgage foreclosures that won’t have adverse consequences. Given that we believe a big
part of the current spike in foreclosures is directly related to Ohio’s current economic struggles, a
big part of the solution should also be focused on economic development. Structured properly, these
programs could be an important component in the Turnaround Ohio initiative.

Sincerely,
/s/ Michael Van Buskirk
Michael Van Buskirk
President & CEO

30
Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force




                                     Ohio	Bankers	League	
                                      Board	of	Directors


             Mr. Richard C. Baylor                              Mr. Jeffrey T. Benton
                Advantage Bank                     The Delaware County Bank and Trust Company
              Mr. William C. Carr                              Mr. James F. Carroll, Jr.
             Liberty National Bank                                Dollar Bank, FSB
              Mr. Claude E. Davis                                 Mr. Paul G. Greig
  First Financial Bank, National Association           FirstMerit Bank, National Association
            Mr. G. Courtney Haning                               Mr. Larry E. Holdren
 The Peoples National Bank of New Lexington             Peoples Bank, National Association
                Mr. Rick L. Hull                                  Mr. Jack C. Kerber
        The Huntington National Bank                            Ohio Bankers League
           Mr. Michael J. Kerschner                               Mr. James E. Kunk
        The Old Fort Banking Company                       The Huntington National Bank
              Mr. Paul M. Limbert                               Mr. Thomas L. Moore
             WesBanco Bank, Inc.                             First Federal Bank of Ohio
               Mr. Paul M. Reed                                 Mr. Lewis R. Renollet
     Farmers Bank and Savings Company                        The Union Bank Company
             Mr. Paul L. Reynolds                             Ms. Deborah M. Schenk
               Fifth Third Bank                             The Mechanics Savings Bank
             Ms. Gretchen Schmidt                                Mr. Jeffrey E. Smith
   The Franklin Savings and Loan Company                  The Ohio Valley Bank Company
             Mr. Robert M. Smith                             Mr. Charles W. Sulerzyski
         American Savings Bank, FSB                        KeyBank National Association
            Mr. David L. Trautman                                Mr. Trent B. Troyer
            The Park National Bank                         First Federal Community Bank
         Mr. Michael M. Van Buskirk                          Mr. Benedict Weissenrieder
             Ohio Bankers League                              The Hocking Valley Bank
             Mr. Jerry D. Williams
           Peoples Community Bank




                                                                                                31
     Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force


      Minority Report of Rachel K. Robinson, Equal Justice Foundation
               Member of Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force, Legal Subcommittee
                                  Submitted September 5, 2007

The purpose of this Minority Report is to amplify the recommendations in Section 14 on Improving
Ohio’s Foreclosure Process by describing how the recommendations will address and help
homeowners overcome systemic barriers to resolving loan defaults and foreclosure.

As stated in Section 14, many homeowners are simply unable to obtain legal advice and
representation. Encouraging more attorneys to assist homeowners pro bono (for free) is very
important, but building the ranks of such attorneys will take time and will not help homeowners
facing foreclosure today. These homeowners need information to empower and help them to
participate in legal proceedings, to explain their situation to the court, and most importantly, to
avoid a default judgment – this is especially true for homeowners seeking loan modifications,
mortgage payment assistance, or who have the financial means to bring their loans current.

Ohio law requires Clerks of Courts to include “Summons” with all complaints. The Summons
contains information about the lawsuit and states that the defendant/ homeowner has 28 days from
receipt of the complaint to file and serve an Answer. The Summons does not define the words
“answer,” “file,” or “serve.” Each homeowner who does not file an Answer will be subject to
default. Therefore, in addition to delivering resource lists with foreclosure complaints, the judicial
branch and clerks of courts should be encouraged to provide homeowners with information that
will enable them to respond to the foreclosure complaint on their own. Specifically, sample answers
forms with written instructions should be provided by the clerk of courts to the homeowners.

The benefits of providing pro se sample answer forms and instructions clearly outweighs any
possible harm. Along with preventing an immediate default, homeowners could use their answer
to also convey information to the Court and lenders’ attorneys that will assist in loss mitigation
and mediation, such as: what caused the default, ie., if it was a job loss, does the homeowner have
another job so they will be able to catch up on their mortgage payment; whether the homeowner has
had or is seeking housing counseling and/or legal representation; whether the homeowner plans to
sell the house, refinance or seek a mortgage workout.

The Governor should encourage the judicial branch, including local Courts of Common Pleas
and Clerks of Courts, to provide sample answer forms with concise and clear instructions to
homeowners along with the foreclosure complaints.

1
   Homeowners lack access to legal counsel for a number of reasons, including: homeowners in default cannot afford to
hire attorneys; legal aides and services programs have limited resources and are subject to federally-imposed restric-
tions making homeowners with household incomes above 125% of the federal poverty guidelines in eligible; many law
firms represent financial institutions meaning that defending foreclosures would present positional conflicts of interest.
2
   The Legal Subcommittee stated, “The Governor should encourage the judicial branch to give clear authority to
Clerks of Courts to provide such information along with sample answer forms when they deliver foreclosure com-
plaint.” The underlined phrase, which was included in the Task Force’s August 24, 2007 draft of the Combined List of
Recommendations, was removed due to concerns that courts would find that homeowners had waived all claims and
defenses to the foreclosure that were not raised in their pro se Answer. To address this valid concern, courts should be
encouraged to exercise discretion to allow homeowners to freely amend pro se answers when justice so requires.


32
 Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force

                                            Acknowledgments


                                                              Lead	Staff
                    Cynthia A. Flaherty                                                         Jennifer Flatter
               Ohio Housing Finance Agency                                               Ohio Department of Commerce
                Director of Special Projects                                                  Legislative Liaison



                                                       Contributing	Staff
                      Todd Dieffenderfer                                                              Dennis Ginty
                Ohio Treasurer Cordray’s Office                                               Ohio Department of Commerce
                       Special Advisor                                                          Public Information Officer
                        Michele Pearson                                                           Nadine Wise
                Ohio Treasurer Cordray’s Office                                           Representative Driehaus’ Office
               Director of Community Education                                                   Legislative Aide




                                                         Invited	Speakers
           Willis Blackshear                               Dean Caldwell-Tautges                                 Ruth Clevenger
      Montgomery County Recorder                  Homeownership Preservation Foundation                Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
               Recorder                           Vice President, Programs and Partnerships           Vice President for Community Affairs

             Michael Gross                                       Uriah King                                       Engram Lloyd
       Countrywide Home Loans                          Center for Responsible Lending             U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
Managing Director for Loan Administration                     Policy Associate                    Director, Philadelphia Homeownership Center

             Frank Nothaft                                                                                         Carl Riedy
              Freddie Mac                                                                                          Fannie Mae
            Chief Economist                                                                            Vice President, Community Lending




                                                              Alternates
          Michael J. Adelman                                  Brittney Colvin                                    Linda Cook
          Ohio Bankers League                            Senator Jacobson’s Office                         Ohio State Legal Services

             Clayton Evans                                     Craig Forbes                                     Damien Hardy
              Freddie Mac                             Representative Widener’s Office                       Senator Roberts’ Office

              Bob Niemi                                         Bob Norrell                                  Carol Mount Peterson
   Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association                       Litton Loan Servicing                     Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati

           Vanessa Randolph                                     Lisa Tarter                                     Mark Wiseman
              Fannie Mae                                        Fannie Mae                                 Treasurer Rokakis’ Office




                                                                                                                                             33
     Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force
                                   Acknowledgments, continued


                    Public	Testimony                                       Focus	Group	Participants
             Sheriff James Beutler, Putnam County Sheriff                Michael Badik, Toledo Dept. of Neighborhoods
             Lavea Brachman, Greater Ohio/ Rebuild Ohio                                 Karen Banyai, OHFA
      Tom Conley, RE/MAX /Foreclosure Intervention Specialist                 Patricia Barnes, Ohio CDC Association
               Steve Farrell, United Way of Central Ohio                      Wendy Boortz, Ohio CDC Association
               Keith Foster, Toledo Fair Housing Center                           Lavea Brachman, Rebuild Ohio
            Paul Haggard, Columbus Housing Partnership                         Kaye Britton, Homeownership Center
            Stan Hirtle, Advocates for Basic Legal Equaltiy              Sr. Barbara Busch, Working in Neighborhoods
                  Robert Hunt, Credit Empowerment                              Brian Carnahan, OHFA - Compliance
                    Jack Konyk, National City Bank                            Linda Cook, Ohio State Legal Services
                      Ed Laurel, Fifth Third Bank                                        Don Corley, WSOS
         Mark Lawson, Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio                        Meg Deedrick, City of Zanesville
              Jim McCarthy, Miami Valley Fair Housing                    Matthew Erikson, United Way of Central Ohio
                Sgt. Alan Mefford, Allen County Sheriff                                 Bill Faith, COHHIO
        Joe O’Brien, Integrity Foreclosure Prevention Services    Steve Gladman, Columbus and Franklin County Housing Trust
                     Richard Rodgers, Homeowner                                      Hugh Grefe, Toledo LISC
             Rev. William Schooler, CRA Alumni Institute                        Patti Griffiths, CAC of Fayette Co
              The Honorable Robert Schuler, Ohio Senate                   Paul Haggard, Columbus Housing Partnership
       Cynthia Sich, Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs           Carla and Gary King, Russell Real Estate Services
                  J.B. Stamper, Liberty Savings Bank                     Mark Lawson, Legal Aid Society of Cincinnati
                 Mike Tarpoff, Allied Home Mortgage                                    Debbie Leasure, OHFA
               Mike Van Buskirk, Ohio Bankers League                 Roy Lowenstein, Buckeye Community Hope Foundation
           Harold Williams, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland                  Joe Maskovyak, Ohio State Legal Services
                         Rex Wood, Homeowner                                          Roger McCauley, COAD
                                                                           Jeanne Morton, Cleveland Housing Network
                                                                                   Rita Parise, City of Columbus
                        Consultants                                                     Mark Siefert, ESOP
                  Parkside Associates, Atlanta                            John Slebodnik, Canton City Auditor’s office
              Community Research Partners, Columbus              Amanda Stark, Chase Bank Homeownership Preservation Office
                 The Creative Group, Columbus                                    Robie Suggs, National City Bank
                                                                               Lou Tisler, NHS of Greater Cleveland
                                                                   Les Warner, ODOD - Housing and Community Partnerships
                                                                 Mark Wiseman, Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Prevention Project




34