Casey, Specter, Holden Thank Fulton Mortgage Company for Helping Families Keep Their Homes
Company helps families who were defrauded
U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Congressman Tim Holden (D-PA) today sent a letter commending Fulton Mortgage Company's work on a proposal that would provide affordable and reasonable mortgage refinancing options to the 811 families throughout Central and Eastern Pennsylvania who were defrauded by a mortgage Ponzi scheme.
"I commend the shareholders, officers and employees of Fulton Mortgage Company for their dedication to helping these homeowners," said Senator Casey. "The proposal by Fulton Mortgage Company will go a long way to provide relief and comfort to these homeowners. This organization went above and beyond to work on this cooperative effort with the homeowners, public officials and financial community to provide this much-needed assistance to the victims of this scheme."
"The 811 homeowners victimized by Wesley Snyder are still struggling economically and the need to come up with a long-term resolution is paramount," Senator Specter said. "I join Senator Casey and Representative Holden in recognizing Fulton Mortgage Company's willingness to work with the families involved in the crisis. Fulton Mortgage Company's efforts should serve as a model to all financial institutions, and I urge the other banks to follow their example by thinking creatively to provide relief to the homeowners."
"Congratulations to Fulton Mortgage Company for their enthusiasm in assisting these homeowners in a time of need. I am pleased that the company has stepped up and offered a hand in helping victims of this terrible scheme. I hope this support will help these homeowners in the recovery process, and allow them to stay in their homes," said Congressman Holden.
More than 800 homeowners in Pennsylvania fell victim to a Ponzi mortgage scheme operated by Wesley Snyder between 1988 and September 2007. During that time, Snyder issued false mortgage statements claiming their payments had been credited to their mortgage when they were not. In 2007, homeowners began receiving notices informing them they were facing foreclosure.
Recently Senator Casey met with Fulton Mortgage Company to discuss the proposal that would provide affordable and reasonable mortgage refinancing options to the victimized homeowners.
Fulton Mortgage Company has proposed to provide these defrauded homeowners with personal mortgage counseling and financing options, such as low-interest rate loans, lender-paid closing costs up to $2,500, and no-cost home equity loans and lines of credit. Fulton Bank has offered to retain the servicing of the mortgages, even after they are sold.
Earlier this year, Senators Specter and Casey and Congressman Holden participated in a Judiciary hearing in Harrisburg where they urged the lenders to think of ways to help the borrowers. The members were then able to convince the homeowners' lending institutions to extend the forbearance agreement through May 31, 2008, to give the homeowners time to find an alterative to foreclosure.
Full text of the letter is below.
Dear Ms. Carson,
We are writing today to commend the shareholders, officers, and employees of the Fulton Bank and Fulton Mortgage Company for your proposal to assist the hundreds of homeowners victimized in the ImageMasters/OPFM mortgage fraud scheme.
When this crisis broke late last year, revealing that the homes of 811 individuals and families could be at risk, it was evident that a cooperative effort involving the homeowners, public officials, and the financial community would be necessary to address the problem. We were able to convince the lending institutions to extend the forbearance agreement through May 31, 2008. This allowed the victims the time they desperately needed to find a solution that allowed them to keep their homes. But we knew it would take a financial leader in the community to step up with reasonable financing to finally rescue these homeowners.
That is why we were so pleased to hear from that Fulton Mortgage Company was working on a proposal that would provide affordable and reasonable mortgage refinancing options to the victimized homeowners. With the May 31, 2008, deadline rapidly approaching, your proposal comes at a most opportune time. Your offer to provide personal mortgage counseling and financing options, such as low-interest rate loans, lender-paid closing costs up to $2,500, and no-cost home equity loans and lines of credit, will provide many of the affected homeowner's much-needed relief. The fact that Fulton Bank will retain the servicing of the mortgages, even after they are sold, should give the homeowners additional comfort.
We are very pleased that our offices, along with the victims and your institution, were able to arrive at such a mutually beneficial agreement to all parties involved. It is our understanding that this type of cooperation exemplifies the community-oriented style of banking that has been the cornerstone of Fulton Bank's corporate philosophy for over a century.
Thank you again for your willingness to find a solution that is good for the homeowners, Fulton Bank, and the community. We look forward to continue working with you and your institution as we strive to help the victims rebuild their lives.
Robert P. Casey
United States Senator
Jr. Arlen Specter
United States Senator
Member of Congress