Solving the Foreclosure Crisis

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For many Americans, the foreclosure crisis was a news story on TV. For others, the crisis was a national problem to be pondered “in theory.” In my case, however, the foreclosure crisis was personal and real. In 2003, in the midst of closing my failing African American bookstore in Denver, I defaulted on my home mortgage – finding myself the target of a foreclosure process, but also of predatory lenders and investors prowling my inner-city, gentrifying neighborhood. I avoided foreclosure by agreeing to a modification plan with my bank. Soon after in 2005, however, while working for the Denver Clerk and Recorder/Public Trustee’s office, I observed firsthand how the State of Colorado – the nation’s only public trustee state – overhauled its foreclosure process. I also observed procedures enacted by the Deputy Public Trustee, who volunteered on a committee to draft the state legislation on foreclosures which ultimately was enacted. Finally, in 2009, after moving to Dallas to accept a senior financial analyst position with a global Fortune 500 company, I purchased a foreclosed home myself – closing on the purchase only after months of delays due to paperwork backlogs. These delays added both time and frustration for myself, the seller and our realtors.

All of these experiences have given me a unique vantage point on which to base a solution for solving the foreclosure crisis. My four-pronged plan would favorably move our nation out of its immense predicament. On a personal level, however, my plan would help hurting families and individuals overcome the stigma of financial ruin, empower American homeowners to make better home-buying decisions and also improve the home-buying process. As well, however, this plan would help neighborhood...

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...eports. Yet, they still have the right to pursue a piece of the American dream – homeownership. Eventually, like me, they will recover from a financial hardship and be interested in purchasing a home. So, the process begins again. The local realtor is contacted. Homes are viewed and one is chosen. A mortgage lender is contacted. And a loan is entered into. Educational instruction on personal finance and homeownership undergirds the foundation on foreclosure prevention and reduction. Strengthening the educational foundation creates a firm base to expand and employ human resources and technological infrastructure, change underwriting practices and data processing processes, and update foreclosure legislation. With such actions working in tandem, the foreclosure crisis in America can become part of our nation’s history – not our ongoing and inevitable future.

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