It is to be noted that the Foreclosure Task Force of the Hampden County Bar Association has not been authorized to advocate, nor, as of this writing, has the Hampden County Bar Association taken any formal position for or against any legislative or regulatory proposals relating to mortgage and foreclosure issues and those non-profit agencies affiliated with the Alliance of Providers of Legal Services to Individuals Facing Foreclosure are prohibited by law, regulation and the terms of their funding to do so. Nothing contained on this website is intended to express official positions of the Foreclosure Task Force, the Hampden County Bar Association or any of those organizations affiliated with the Alliance.
That being said, it is to be noted that the Alliance itself and individuals involved in its efforts to address the issues contributing to and exacerbating the foreclosure crisis have gone on record as supporting the following recommendations for alleviating the present crisis and avoiding future crises:
(1) Amend the United States Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. 101 et seq.) to restore the provision allowing the Bankruptcy Court to adjust interest to no less than market rate and reduce principal balance to no less than the present market value on an owner occupied residence.
(2) Enact legislation in Massachusetts that would provide for judicial review of foreclosure and thereby provide a mortgagee an opportunity to defend against a foreclosure of his residence before a court of law.
Two separate legislative proposals by the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending (“MAAPL”) have been introduced in the Massachusetts Senate and House for consideration during the 2011-2012 legislative session.
(3) Enact a federal usury law that would cap the rate of interest that can be charged on a residential mortgage.
On an issue of first impression in what may be a harbinger of things to come, Judge Robert A. Cornetta of the Massachusetts Superior Court has held in a 12-page decision in the credit card case of Citibank (South Dakota) N.A. v. DeCristoforo (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-001-11) that “(T)he court concludes interest rates above eighteen percent are unconscionable and so outrageous as to warrant holding (them)…unenforceable.”
(Essex Superior Court, Civil Action No. 09-02536-C, January 4, 2011)