Statement By Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith, Senate Housing Committee Chair Pedro Espada, Jr., And Senate Banking Committee Chair Brian X. Foley Re: State Task Force To Halt Abusive Lending Transactions

Malcolm A. Smith

January 17, 2009

"The "New Report from the State Task Force to Halt Abusive Lending Transactions" highlights the dire financial situation that so many residents of New York State face during this difficult economic time. There is no question that working families are struggling more than ever. The report reveals that almost 45,000 New York homes are in foreclosure, a vast increase of 43 percent over 2007. Families alone aren't the only victims of the subprime crisis. It affects whole communities and can lead to the deterioration of once vibrant neighborhoods.

More needs to be done to protect homeowners and more will be done. The HALT report sends a strong signal to New York families that their government is on their side and will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with them to overcome this foreclosure crisis.

It is more important now than ever that the New York State Senate acts to promote the interests of working class families and protect the rights of home owners. As Majority Leader of the Senate, Chair of the Housing Committee and Chair of the Banking Committee we will redouble our efforts to direct state resources to assist homeowners and maintain the strength of the communities they call home.

As this new report clearly demonstrates, New York has been a national leader in addressing the subprime mortgage crisis. Last year, the State developed agency-administered grant programs which awarded nearly $24 million to non-profit groups to provide foreclosure prevention assistance. Concurrently, the Senate Democratic Conference launched Operation Protect Your Home, keeping 1,600 New York families facing foreclosure in their homes by helping them find new financing options. We have led the charge and will continue to fight for a moratorium on foreclosures. But our job is far from over. Together with President-elect Obama, Governor Paterson and other legislative leaders, we will meet the challenges of the housing crisis head-on and work to keep New Yorkers where they belong--in their homes."