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MD HOPE Counseling Network first step for those facing foreclosure

1/17/2014, 6 a.m.
New mortgage rules designed to curb some of the shady practices that triggered the national foreclosure crisis went into effect ...

— New mortgage rules designed to curb some of the shady practices that triggered the national foreclosure crisis went into effect this week, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

"You can think of all these changes as a 'back to basics' moment for the mortgage market: No debt traps, surprises and runarounds," the agency said on its blog. "And a market where, if you run into trouble paying your mortgage, you'll have a fair shot at all the options available to help you avoid foreclosure.

The new rules prohibit mortgage servicers from "dual-tracking," or starting a foreclosure while they are working with a homeowner; and they require servicers to help borrowers understand all the options available to them.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established after the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law to help protect consumers. An agency fact sheet reminded borrowers that their first step when seeking help is to contact an expert HUD-approved housing counseling agency such as the members of the MD HOPE Counseling network. Call the HOPE Hotline at 877-462-7555 or click here for a list of counseling network members.

Maryland's foreclosure prevention efforts are ranked among the most comprehensive in the nation. More than 93,000 borrowers have sought help through the MD HOPE Counseling network since the foreclosure crisis first hit in 2007 and counselors helped nearly 25,000 find alternatives to losing their home.