Despite claims that the recession has ended, foreclosures in the Dallas-Fort Worth area continue to rise. Rising job losses and prolonged unemployment are major factors contributing to the foreclosure crisis. More than 61,000 homeowners are facing foreclosure, an increase of 23 percent since 2009. And despite efforts to slow the wave of foreclosures, most experts fear that the problem is worsening. The foreclosure prevention programs have proven ineffective as mortgage lenders struggle with a backlog of distressed homeowners, many of whom succumb to foreclosure while they are waiting for an answer on their loan modification application. Many mortgage lenders have little incentive to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure and we, the taxpayers, have little power to force their hand.
It’s unfortunate that our legislators have chosen to allow this foreclosure crisis to worsen while the banking industry receives billions in bailout money. If our legislator s had moved quickly to give bankruptcy courts the power to modify toxic mortgages it may have radically altered the foreclosure situation. The bankruptcy courts, if given the power, could have assessed the needs of the mortgage lenders and borrowers in a fair and unbiased way, relieving the stress that is now squeezing our economy.
What Legislators Can Do Now
It is not too late for legislators to get aggressive about forcing mortgage lenders to act proactively in preventing foreclosures. Legislation should be proposed and passed that will allow the government to fine lenders who fail to do their part in preventing foreclosure. Also, legislation should be passed that will give the bankruptcy courts the power to modify toxic mortgage when necessary during a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy .