State News

N.C. expands help for homeowners facing foreclosure

Posted September 15, 2009 4:04 a.m. EDT
Updated September 16, 2009 3:03 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper and deputy state banking commissioner Mark Pearce announced an expansion Tuesday of the Home Foreclosure Prevention Project.

The project, which connects homeowners with counseling, legal advice and non-profit organizations, has been available to those with sub-prime loans for almost a year.

On Tuesday, Cooper and Pearce announced that those resources would be offered to any North Carolina homeowner struggling to pay a mortgage.

Homeowners can access immediate, free assistance from HUD-certified counselors.at 1-866-234-4857 (weekdays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

The state Office of the Commissioner of Banks estimates that more than 5,000 homeowners have been helped by the program since its creation in November 2008.

To publicize the message, the Center for Responsible Lending, with funding from the N.C. Association of Realtors, the State Employees Credit Union and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, is producing informational advertisements television and the Web.

Cooper reminded homeowners that, under North Carolina law, it is illegal to charge an upfront fee for foreclosure assistance.

The Attorney General’s office acted on more than 130 foreclosure assistance scams since January of 2008, Cooper said.

“Do not pay anyone that claims they will help you work out your mortgage loan,” Pearce said. “You can get better assistance for free from North Carolina’s fightNCforeclosure program.”

Foreclosure scams can be reported to the Attorney General’s office by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.