McKenna: White House 'doing as much as possible' to help struggling homebuyers

Chris Rizo Jun. 24, 2009, 11:58am

Rob McKenna (R)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Legal Newsline)-The U.S. government should not become complacent in finding new ways to help struggling homebuyers keep their homes, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna said.

McKenna, who has been at the forefront of efforts by state attorneys general to help those caught in the tide of the subprime mortgage crisis, said the White House has done well to help millions of people at risk of losing their homes.

Speaking to Legal Newsline, McKenna, a member of the State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group, offered this advice to President Barack Obama and his administration: Officials should continue to look for new, innovative ways to help those caught in the mortgage meltdown.

"I think they are doing as much as possible currently, but we need to evaluate their efforts," McKenna said, noting that the federal government is emulating AGs' settlement with Bank of America's Countrywide Financial Corp.

The $8.4 billion multistate settlement ended some AGs' claims of predatory lending practices by Countrywide. The settlement, among other things, called for loan modifications.

"The federal government is tacking the problem in the ways that we state AGs would recommend," McKenna said last week in an interview from National Association of Attorneys General summer meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo.

In February, McKenna and other attorneys general urged federal officials to push national banks and federal thrifts to modify home mortgage loans that were becoming unaffordable for struggling buyers.

In their letter to U.S. Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan and director of the Office of Thrift Supervision John Reich, the attorneys general said loan modifications would help many Americans remain in their homes by avoiding foreclosure.

"Every day, our office hears from families struggling to make their mortgage payments and those who have lost their homes," McKenna said. "They are our neighbors and we have as much of an investment in helping them as do officials in the other Washington. The states want to work with federal regulators - not against them - to help reduce foreclosures."

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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