Goddard announces foreclosure help for Arizonans

Chris Rizo Jan. 14, 2010, 1:38pm

Terry Goddard (D)

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Legal Newsline)-More help is on the way for struggling homebuyers in Arizona, state Attorney General Terry Goddard said Thursday.

Goddard, a Democrat who is widely expected to run for governor this year, announced that the state will direct a combined total of $1.3 million to a dozen non-profit housing counseling entities.

The money comes from Arizona's share of a multistate settlement with Bank of America Corp., over Countrywide Financial, which the bank acquired after the lawsuit was filed.

Goddard said the settlement funds will help to hire additional staff and counselors to work with homeowners on foreclosure alternatives.

The Multistate settlement with Bank of America resolved allegations that Countrywide, prior to 2008, used unfair and deceptive tactics in its loan origination and servicing activities and placed borrowers in structurally unfair and unaffordable loans.

"It is our hope that these settlement funds will have a positive impact on families throughout the state who are in great need of counseling assistance to help them stay in their homes," Goddard said. "The problem is so acute that additional staff can make a big difference. Homeowners should exercise great caution before paying for any foreclosure "rescue" services. More helpful services are being provided for free by these HUD-approved housing counseling agencies."

Goddard noted that about 6 percent of all housing units in Arizona received a foreclosure filing in 2009.

"Until the housing crisis is resolved, the Arizona economy cannot fully recover," he said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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