Anthony Emerson, president/CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut, said he waited for nearly eight hours this week to testify in front of a state assembly committee in Hartford, Conn., which is considering proposed legislation, House Bill 6355, that would make changes to the mediation process for homeowners who are in jeopardy of losing their homes to foreclosure.
“This is an extremely contested issue,” said Emerson. “There were 30 people who testified. I got to the state house at 1:30 p.m. and testified at 9 p.m.”
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy backs the bill and said the proposed legislation offers protections to homeowners engaged in the mediation process, ensuring it is efficient and fair.
But in his testimony during a committee hearing on Tuesday, Emerson said the proposed bill might create “unintended consequences in the form of added provision expenses, resulting in unnecessary incurred expenses that would further deteriorate the bottom line of a fragile, but slowly recovering industry.”
Emerson said he heard testimony from several Connecticut citizens who had harrowing experiences when they went through the mediation and foreclosure process. Connecticut’s mediation program is designed to help people keep their homes.
However, none of the citizens who testified reported any negative experiences with credit unions or community banks. Instead, Emerson said, the issues Connecticut residents testified about involved large commercial banks.
Emerson said credit unions work with members who are struggling with mortgages, pointing out that less than 50 credit union mortgages have gone into foreclosure among Connecticut’s 125 state and federally chartered credit unions.
“The bill prescribes certain actions that may hinder the processes already used by credit unions as they diligently work to help their members remain in their homes,” he said.
In lieu of the proposed legislation, Emerson recommended that state legislators consider administrative changes to improve the mediation process.
“They liked that idea,” said Emerson. “So we’ll see what happens.”