Del. AG Looks to Extend Foreclosure Mediation Program - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. AG Looks to Extend Foreclosure Mediation Program

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DOVER, Del.- A Delaware program designed to help save homeowners from foreclosure may be getting a long extension.

In January 2012 the state started requiring lenders to meet with borrowers face to face before they could move forward with foreclosure.

That program is set to expire at the end of this year. Attorney General Beau Biden wants to see it extended for another four years.

Watching your house slide into foreclosure can be a scary process, and it's one housing counselor Valerie Malone sees people dealing with every day.

"Scared. Upset. They don't know which way to go. A lot of them don't contact the mortgage company because they don't know what to say."

"That's the beauty of housing counseling," said Bernice Edwards, executive director of First State Community Action Agency. "We're meeting those families one-on-one and also negotiating with those lenders trying to keep those families stable."

Biden says in the past it had could be tough for homeowners to get mediation with their lenders, and requiring it has been very successful. His office reports more than half of Delawareans facing foreclosure have used the program, and 80-percent of those either found a non-foreclosure solution or are still in discussions. So, Biden wants the program extended.

"I would feel much more comfortable having mandatory mediation in place to force this discussion that otherwise wasn't happening to happen," he said.

Foreclosures have been dropping in Delaware over the past four years.

But lawmakers sponsoring the extension say the state isn't out of the woods, and this should make sure the program outlasts the crisis. That's important to Malone who says she know it's saved some of her organization's clients from foreclosure.

"It gives them an idea of what the lender is expecting and will accept from them," she said.

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