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Mortgages & Foreclosure

To help people who are having difficulty with their mortgage payments, we have prepared a brochure with information on some potential avenues of relief. To view this brochure, click here. Information on mortgage foreclosure and steps you can take if you have fallen behind on your payments is available here.

Mortgage Modifications

Mortgage modifications take many forms—interest rate reductions, extending the length of time it takes to pay off the mortgage, adding part of the amount owed to the end of the mortgage, adding all delinquencies to the back-end of the loan, and, in some cases, principal reduction. The following are some of the programs that may be available to people seeking a mortgage modification:

There are many mortgage modification scams in the marketplace (more on this below). You do not have to pay a fee for assistance with a modification. More information on mortgage modifications is available here.

Refinancing Your Mortgage

If you are considering refinancing your mortgage, you should contact your lender directly to see if it will refinance your loan. In addition, you may qualify for one of the modification options described above. You may also try refinancing through another lender or contact a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved nonprofit housing counselor for additional assistance. Be very careful about who you select to assist you, as there are many refinancing scams in the marketplace (more on this below).

Short Sales

A short sale occurs when a lender allows a homeowner to sell their home for less than the principal balance of the mortgage. With short sales, the lender may still hold the seller responsible for the deficiency. And if the seller has a second mortgage, he or she may be responsible to the owner of the second mortgage for any deficiency as well. People interested in a short sale should contact their lender about the application and qualification process. Because short sales can have income tax consequences, they may also want to consult with a tax advisor.

Mortgage Foreclosure

Foreclosure is the process by which a lender that is servicing a mortgage loan repossesses the property and forces the borrower out of the home because the borrower failed to meet the terms of the loan or has defaulted on the payments. The foreclosure process takes place in several stages, including default, sheriff’s sale, and redemption period. If you have fallen behind on your payments, contact your lender as soon as possible and ask about your options. Because each person’s financial situation is different, there may be a range of solutions available to you. For more information on this topic and your rights when facing foreclosure, click here.

Mortgage Assistance Scams

Mortgage assistance scam artists charge people up-front fees and fail to deliver on promises to modify a borrower’s loan terms or save a home from foreclosure. No homeowner should pay up-front free for mortgage assistance because there are non-profit organizations that provide such services for free. Below is a list of some scams:

If you have a question or experience a problem related to a mortgage or foreclosure, or have been targeted by a mortgage or foreclosure-related scam, we want to hear from you. Complaints from members of the public help us to identify potential violations of Minnesota law and new problems occurring in the marketplace. In addition, we can sometimes help people solve problems they are having with their mortgage or lender. If you would like to file a complaint with this Office, please submit a completed Consumer Assistance Request Form to:

Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400
St. Paul, MN 55101

Additional Resources

The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office offers the following materials, which are designed to provide information to Minnesotans on issued related to mortgages and foreclosure:

If you need help with a mortgage or foreclosure related problem, the following agencies and organizations may be able to provide information, referrals, and assistance:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Minnesota Field Office
International Centre
920 Second Avenue South, Suite 1300
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612) 370-3000
www.hud.govexternal link icon

Minnesota Housing Finance Agency
400 Sibley Street, Suite 300
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 296-7608 or (800) 657-3769
www.mnhousing.gov external link icon

Minnesota Homeownership Center
100 Payne Avenue, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55130
(651) 659-9336
www.hocmn.org external link icon

Lutheran Social Services Financial Counseling
424 West Superior Street, Suite 600
Duluth, MN 55802
(888) 577-2227
www.lssmn.orgexternal link icon

If you experience a problem with a bank or mortgage company, you should contact the following government agencies, as applicable:

Minnesota Department of Commerce

The Minnesota Department of Commerce is the State agency with the authority to license and regulate mortgage brokers and other professionals and companies in the real estate and mortgage industries. For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Department of Commerce as follows:

Minnesota Department of Commerce
85 7th Place East, Suite 280
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 539-1500 or (800) 657-3602
www.mn.gov/commerce external link icon

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is the federal agency with authority to license and regulate national banks. For more information or to file a complaint against a national bank, contact the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as follows:

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Customer Assistance Group
1301 McKinney Street, Suite 3450
Houston, TX 77010
(800) 613-6743
www.occ.gov

Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is the federal agency that has authority to take action against deceptive, fraudulent and unfair business practices in the marketplace. For more information or to file a complaint, contact the FTC as follows:

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20580
(877) 382-4357
TTY: (866) 653-4261
www.consumer.ftc.gov external link icon

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) is a federal agency with the authority to regulate banks that do not join the federal reserve system. For more information or to file a complaint about a state-chartered bank that is not a member of the federal reserve system, contact the FDIC as follows:

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Consumer Response Center
1100 Walnut Street Box #11
Kansas City, MO 64106
(877) 275-3342
www.fdic.gov external link icon

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

The Federal Reserve Board of Governors is a federal agency with the authority to regulate state-chartered banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System. For more information or to file a complaint against a state-chartered bank that is a member of the Federal Reserve System, contact the Board of Governors as follows:

Federal Reserve Board of Governors
Federal Reserve Consumer Help
P.O. Box 1200
Minneapolis, MN 55480
(888) 851-1920
www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.govexternal link icon

National Credit Union Administration.

The National Credit Union Administration is the federal agency with authority to license and regulate credit unions. For more information or to file a complaint about a credit union, contact the National Credit Union Administration as follows:

National Credit Union Administration
1775 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(800) 755-1030
www.ncua.govexternal link icon

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a federal agency that has authority to enforce various federal regulations and laws and to advocate on behalf of consumers as it relates to problems with banks, mortgages, credit cards, and financial institutions. For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as follows:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
P.O. Box 4503
Iowa City, IA 52244
(855) 411-2372
www.consumerfinance.govexternal link icon