Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller appeared before a congressional panel this morning to talk about stemming the tide of home foreclosures nationwide. Miller told the House Financial Services Committee about the telephone hotline he helped launch in Iowa this fall to try to help people in danger of losing their homes.
"Keep in mind that there are 30,000 sub-prime loans in Iowa. They say about eight percent are in foreclosure. That’s 2400," Miller said. "In less than two months, as of yesterday, there’d been 2700 calls." Miller says the hotline can help mortgage-holders adjust their payments to more affordable levels so they won’t lose their home in foreclosure.
The hotline is run by the folks who’ve been operating a farm foreclosure hotline in Iowa for the past 22 years. "There’s a precedent for success and that’s the farm crisis in Iowa in the 1980s which was a horrible experience for us," Miller said. "But through required mediation of all those farm foreclosures, we saved enormous (numbers of) farms and saved the fabric of rural Iowa in a lot of ways."
Miller leads a multi-state group of attorneys general and lenders who are working to address the problems within the sub-prime mortgage market.