Video by David Corrigan | Voice of Stephanie Salazar
It was one month ago that Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie signed into law SB 651, regarded as the toughest foreclosure mediation bill in the entire nation.
From the office of the governor:
Senate Bill 651 implements a comprehensive strategy to reform the mortgage foreclosure process to protect homeowners who are in foreclosure or at risk of foreclosure.
The primary component established under this measure, the Mortgage Foreclosure Dispute Resolution Program, seeks to provide the owner-occupants of residential property in Hawai’i who are facing foreclosure the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the mortgagees to possibly resolve their differences.
The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs will administer the program, which will begin no later than October 1, 2011 and continue until September 30, 2014.
The house co-sponsor of the bill was Bob Herkes, state representative from the Ka’u district.
At a community meeting with legislators at UH-Hilo on Tuesday evening, Herkes talked about the need for the law, and told some harrowing tales of local residents who seemed to be victimized by recent foreclosure procedures.
From a resident of South Point who was told – out of the blue – that her mortgage company went out of business and her home had been foreclosed on, to state legislators who were allegedly threatened by the mortgage banking industry on the eve of a vote on SB 651, Herkes painted a picture of abuse and misconduct destroying the lives of Hawaii’s homeowners.
Herkes also admitted that at 100 pages, the bill will require lawyers to do a load of work. Herkes said the bill riled the country’s mortgage industry.
Marcus Oshiro praised Herkes at the same meeting in Hilo.
“He’s recognized nationally as one of the leaders nationally in state legislation as far as proposals to address the mortgage crisis facing other states,” said Oshiro. “Others states are looking to Hawaii right now to model the laws we just passed.”