I read in my local paper that you should be careful when contacted by companies promising foreclosure assistance as many of them have collected fees and not delivered results. Do you have any advice for affected homeowners and has anything been undertaken to stop the practice?

Homeowners should seek assistance from HUD-approved counselors or work directly with their mortgage lenders. New rules issued by the FTC in 2010 protect homeowners seeking assistance from a company or person providing mortgage modification assistance and foreclosure relief. These new rules ban advance fees, require clear disclosures, and prohibit false or misleading claims.

Information on the Federal Trade Commission's Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) rule is available at https://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/11/mars.shtm

June 2016