Attorney General Tom Miller says efforts to address the national mortgage crisis in Iowa have proven successful. Those efforts included using a federal grant to start the Iowa Mortgage Hotline — a toll-free place where people can call to get help. Miller says the good news is that foreclosure starts, have “essentially leveled out” throughout the state and Iowa now has the sixth lowest number of foreclosure starts in the country.
Iowa had been in the middle of the pack at 26th for foreclosure starts in 2007. While the number of new foreclosure proceedings has leveled off — Miller says everything isn’t perfect. “The bad news of course is, that while starts have stabilized, they’ve stabilized at a very high number… a number that is challenging to Iowans, and particularly to the people involved,” Miller says.
Miller says everyone involved in the process of trying to stall the mortgage foreclosures found it was far tougher than they thought it would be. Miller says one of the challenges is getting homeowners and borrowers to make the call to start the mediation process. “The sort of human tendency is to get into a little bit of a bunker mentality and not respond because you can’t make a payment and not respond to the service, and that situation then unravels in a bad direction, so one of the things that is necessary is to get people involved in the process,” he said.
Miller says the mortgage hotline has taken 8,500 calls, and 6,600 moved into the mediation process. Miller says about 55% of the cases that have been concluded have resulted in the people being able to stay in their homes. Miller says the one key is for anyone who thinks they may have trouble paying their mortgage to call and seek help before the situation gets beyond repair. He says that may go against their human nature.
“You know we all have pride and that leads us to do some great things, it also keeps us from doing some other things that can help us sometimes, and this is a great example,” Miller says, “you know, people shouldn’t feel ashamed or a lack of pride in doing this, people got in this situation through no fault of their own in practically all instances.”
Miller says you should call the toll-free number at 877-622-4866 or visit the Iowa Mortgage Hotline website at:www.iowamortgagehelp.com.