Ways to keep your home are available

Free foreclosure presentations start on Oct. 22

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The Idaho Attorney General's Office scheduled free public presentations for later this month to share information on foreclosure prevention, and to explain how a national mortgage settlement will affect Idaho homeowners.

Ramon Hobdey-Sanchez, a housing specialist in the Attorney General's consumer protection division, said there are many resources, tools and tips that can assist individuals through the foreclosure process, or help avoid it.

"If people are more aware of how foreclosure works, they'll be better prepared to avoid it or help a friend or family member avoid it," he said.

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said in a news release, "I hope that these presentations will be helpful to the many Idahoans who have been through or are currently facing foreclosure."

Sanchez said he hopes the presentations he makes will motivate borrowers to tackle their problems head-on.

"A lot of times, (borrowers) have another crisis in their lives, and foreclosure gets put on the back burner," he said. "We're also seeing individuals becoming overwhelmed by the process just deciding to put it off."

The presentations will be interactive with questions from the audience. Sanchez won't be providing legal advice.

The Attorney General's Office has received many calls from Idaho borrowers complaining about their mortgages and the foreclosure process.

In North Idaho, the presentations will be in Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls, St. Maries, Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry.

One of the first things Sanchez will tell borrowers is they should put together a personal file, and include information about their current bills, expenses, assets and income, because they will need the information organized and accessible during conversations with counselors and lenders.

And, he said, borrowers should "contact their lender and try and open up a line of communication immediately."

Earlier this year, Wasden joined a state and federal settlement with the nation's five largest mortgage servicers, Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, Ally, and Wells Fargo.

The settlement provides nearly $100 million in direct relief to Idaho homeowners whose mortgages are owned and serviced by one of the five, and to individuals whose mortgages were serviced by one of the banks and who lost their home in foreclosure.

From that total, eligible Idaho borrowers will receive an estimated $75 million in benefits from loan modifications and other direct relief.

Approximately 12,000 Idaho borrowers who lost their home to foreclosure from the beginning of 2008 through the end of 2011 - because of substandard servicing practices - will receive nearly $10 million in cash payments averaging at least $840.

Those borrowers have been identified by their servicers and currently are being contacted by the settlement administrator.

Also, the banks will pay more than $15 million to fund a program that allows underwater borrowers to refinance their loans.

The settlement preserves the rights of individual borrowers and investors to pursue lawsuits against the banks and the ability of governments to pursue civil or criminal legal remedies on other issues related to the financial and housing crises.

Foreclosure presentations

• Bonners Ferry, at 6 p.m. Oct. 22, at International Gateway Visitors Center, 6373 Bonner St.

• Sandpoint, at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 23, East Bonner County Library, 1407 Cedar St.

• Post Falls, at 5:45 p.m. Oct. 24, Post Falls Library, 821 N. Spokane St.

• St. Maries, at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25, St. Maries Fire Protection District, conference room, 308 W. Jefferson Ave.

• Coeur d'Alene, at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 26, Coeur d'Alene Public Library, community room, 702 E. Front Ave.

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