California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled an aggressive proposal yesterday that he says will bring down foreclosure rates in the state by helping both borrowers and lenders modify existing home loans in ways that benefit both parties, and at the heart of his plan is a state-wide 90-day halt on foreclosure proceedings. Earlier today, Schwarzenegger called a special session of the state legislature to immediately address his foreclosure relief plan, as well as other economy and budget issues.
“The single most powerful action our state can take to shore up its economy is to help Californians stay in their homes – and I am presenting a plan to do just that,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Curtailing foreclosures will stop the downward spiral of home prices, free up needed cash for homeowners, help save jobs and make an immediate positive impact on our economy.”
Schwarzenegger’s plan encourages loan modifications with incentives for lenders and servicers. Initially, the program calls for a 90-day stay of foreclosure for each owner-occupied home subject to a first mortgage on which a Notice of Default (NOD) has already been filed. But, it also provides for a “Safe Harbor” under which lenders will be exempt from the 90-day moratorium if they provide evidence to the state’s head banking official that they have an aggressive modification program already in place. The Governor’s office defines an “aggressive modification program” as one “designed to keep borrowers in their homes where doing so will ultimately bring investors a better return than simply foreclosing and selling at a loss.”