Congressman Edolphus "Ed" Towns (NY10) announced today that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) will conduct a field hearing in Brooklyn to investigate how New York and other communities will be affected by the recent mortgage settlement deal. The hearing will be held Monday, March 19, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Joining Rep. Towns at the hearing will be OGR Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (CA39), Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD7) and other members of the committee.
The hearing is being held in the wake of the February 9, 2012 announcement by the Obama Administration that it had reached a $26 billion settlement with five of the nation's largest banks over fraudulent foreclosure practices that cost millions of Americans their homes and left millions of others owing more than the value of their houses. One of the key players in the settlement, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who will co-chair the Mortgage Task Force that will monitor the settlement, has been invited to appear as a witness.
"I wanted to bring this hearing to Brooklyn because residents of Brooklyn have suffered disproportionately from the foreclosure crisis and New York played a significant role in the settlement," Rep. Towns stated. "Many of the details of this settlement have yet to be worked out. This hearing is a step towards ensuring that the healing process begins in earnest."
Representatives from the five banks involved in the settlement--Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial--are expected to appear as witnesses, as are representatives from the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency--the federal agency charged with regulating and supervising all national banks. New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur M. Sack and Bedford-Stuyvesant Legal Services CEO Betty E. Staton are also on the list of those invited to appear as witnesses.
While foreclosures in New York City declined dramatically in 2011, Brooklyn led the city with 292 foreclosures although that number was down 47 percent from the previous year. "In many ways, Brooklyn has been at the epicenter of the foreclosure crises," Rep. Towns stated. "I intend to be very vigilant during this settlement process to ensure that Brooklyn homeowners are treated fairly."