State House News Service

Mass. House Passes Foreclosure Bill

THE STATE HOUSE — The House on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation aimed at preventing homeowners from unnecessary foreclosures if they are eligible for loan modifications.

The bill requires banks to modify loans if the borrower is eligible and it makes financial sense for the bank to modify versus foreclose.

The final bill did not include Senate-approved provisions sought by the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending and housing advocates that would have mandated mediation between banks and homeowners at risk of foreclosure, a strategy 23 other states employ.

Rep. Michael Costello, (D-Newburyport), one of the lead conferees, told lawmakers the idea was pulled from the final bill because the results of mediation are “mixed” and the costs unknown.

The bill (H 4323) was unveiled Wednesday morning after a six-member conference committee agreed to its provisions. The House suspended rules designed to provide adequate time to review bills in order to advance the legislation quickly.

The compromise bill now heads to the Senate for an up-or-down, perhaps as early as Thursday afternoon.

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