Woodstock Developments

A monthly update on new research, analysis, and advocacy from Woodstock Institute

December 15, 2011


From the President: Ocwen proves principal reduction works; FHFA still refuses to budge

Dory Rand Ocwen, one of the leading mortgage servicers, has had success in doing principal write-downs on home mortgages so that families can stay in their homes, reported Ocwen’s Paul Koches at the annual Home Ownership Preservation Initiative conference on December 9. Using a proprietary underwriting system developed by Ocwen, the servicer has been able to modify mortgages in such a way as to reduce the principal amount owed, which helps many homeowners who currently owe more than their home is worth. For Ocwen loans where principal reductions have been approved, the company claims that only 3 percent of borrowers re-default.


Back to Top

County committee approves ordinance requiring mortgage servicers to maintain vacant homes

The Zoning and Buildings Committee of the Cook County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance proposed by Commissioner Bridget Gainer that would give suburban communities the ability to step up maintenance requirements for vacant properties stuck in the foreclosure process. The proposal follows a recent ordinance adopted by the Chicago City Council that mandates minimum maintenance standards for so-called “red flag” properties that become vacant during lengthy foreclosure processes.


Back to Top

Federal Housing Finance Agency seeks to block maintenance requirements for Chicago vacant properties stuck in foreclosure process

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the agency charged with overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the city of Chicago to prevent enforcement of Chicago’s vacant property ordinance. The agency states that the City’s effort to hold mortgagees responsible for the upkeep of troubled, vacant properties stuck in the foreclosure process infringes on the FHFA’s sole authority to supervise the secondary mortgage market enterprises.


Back to Top

Cloture vote on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director fails, as Kirk and GOP continue push to weaken agency

“Today, Senator Mark Kirk cast his vote in opposition to strong consumer protections for loans made by mortgage brokers, payday lenders, and private student lenders,” said Dory Rand, president of Woodstock Institute. “The CFPB has begun a highly collaborative, transparent campaign to identify the worst financial abuses, but until there is a director confirmed, the bureau’s ability to move forward with these efforts is limited.”


Related: Kirk should put Illinois consumers before politics

Back to Top

GOP lawmakers and community bankers call for rollback of CFPB autonomy

GOP lawmakers and community bankers used Monday’s U.S. House Committee Financial Services field hearing in Chicago to air their objections to the 2010 financial overhaul, as consumer and community advocates called for a commitment from policymakers and the industry to give the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPB) time to put into place consumer protections from firms such as mortgage brokers and payday lenders that previously were not subject to federal regulation.


Back to Top

New at Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative: West Cook County Housing Collaborative receives $2.9M HUD Sustainable Communities Challenge Grant

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the recipients of the 2011 Sustainable Communities Grants, totaling over $97 million. Twenty seven communities and organizations will receive Community Challenge grants and 29 regional areas will receive Regional Planning grants. The goal of the Sustainable Communities grants is to help communities and regions improve their economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation.


In this issue

  Recent Work

File IconFirst Half 2011 Foreclosure Filings and Auctions
September 2011 

File IconBridging the Gap II: Examining Trends and Patterns of Personal Bankruptcy in Cook County’s Communities of Color
May 2011

File IconPaying More for the American Dream V: The Persistence and Evolution of the Dual Mortgage Market
April 2011   

  [+] View All Publications

  Upcoming Events

Join us in welcoming our new vice president and reflecting on 2011
1389 N. Milwaukee Ave.
December 15, 4:30 pm

Woodstock in the News

Wall Street Journal: Chicago Sued Over Vacant-Properties Upkeep Fee

The federal regulator overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sued the city of Chicago on Monday over an ordinance that makes mortgage creditors liable for the upkeep of vacant properties.... "By in many cases ignoring these properties you're doing a disservice to the community and a disservice to the investor," said Tom Feltner, vice president of the Woodstock Institute.

Read the story



29 E. Madison, Suite 1710 | Chicago, Illinois 60602-4566 | (312) 368-0310 tel | (312) 368-0316 fax

Not displaying properly? Click here.