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Homeowner Protection

The Office of the Indiana Attorney General is dedicated to protecting Hoosier homeowners from mortgage fraud and predatory lending. Homeowner Protection Unit (HPU) was created in 2005 to further this mission. Since its inception, HPU has actively filed civil court actions across Indiana against individuals and companies committing deceptive and fraudulent actions as mortgage brokers, foreclosure consultants, credit services organizations, and suppliers of other consumer services.

In 2007, HPU merged with the Professional Licensing Section of the Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Protection. Together, HPU and Professional Licensing strive to not only address deceptive acts in mortgage lending and home loans, but to enforce the statutes and rules that regulate licensed professionals such as real estate agents and appraiser in Indiana.

Attention Creditors: You can download the 'Borrower Notice Form' here

Mortgage Fraud

Mortgage fraud has escalated into one of the fastest-growing white-collar crimes in the nation. Mortgage fraud is a criminal offense and often involves fraud against mortgage lenders by mortgage brokers, real estate agents, appraisers and/or the buyers. Here is a list of tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of mortgage fraud:

  • Ensure every aspect of the real estate transaction is in writing.
  • Do not sign any document before you read and understand it. If a document contains a false statement, do not sign it until the error is corrected.
  • Remember the loan broker does not work for you; rather they work for the lender or an independent company.
  • Be wary of undisclosed costs, interest rates or fees.
  • Perform an independent financial analysis before buying a house.
  • Before signing a power of attorney, be aware of what rights you are giving the other person.

Mortgage fraud can be devastating for borrowers and their families. The number of mortgage fraud cases and the foreclosure crisis facing Indiana homeowners is having a negative effect on our nation’s economy, property values, and financial markets. The Office of the Indiana Attorney General has mobilized to make every attempt to combat this crisis in our state.

Foreclosure Consultants

Many Hoosier homeowners are facing the worst financial crisis of their lives – their homes are in danger of being taken away from them in foreclosure. There are many companies and individuals who will promise to help you avoid foreclosure or to modify your loan for a fee. Indiana law regulates the activities of foreclosure consultants and the Office of the Attorney General enforces those laws. If you are facing foreclosure or are in danger of foreclosure there are things you need to know, including:

  • Contact the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention (IFPN) for free foreclosure consulting services. IFPN is a non-profit, statewide network of certified housing counselors who can be reached toll-free by calling 1.877.GET.HOPE (1.877.438.4673).
  • Indiana law requires foreclosure consultants to have a $25,000 surety bond if they are going to collect money up front. If the foreclosure consultant asks you for money before services are complete, ask the foreclosure consultant for a copy of the surety bond.
  • If you enter into a contract for foreclosure consulting services, make sure the contract has a detailed description of the services and the cost of the services; information regarding your right to cancel the contract before midnight of the third business day after the transaction; and that you and the foreclosure consultant sign and date the contract.
  • Retain a copy of the contract and any receipts, cancelled checks, or other evidence of payment. Under a new state law, foreclosure consultants are required to retain all customer records for at least three years.

Understanding Your Rights

It is important consumers are fully informed of their rights and responsibilities as homeowners. In an effort to keep Hoosiers facing tough financial times in their homes, the State of Indiana has passed a law that provides Hoosiers an avenue to talk directly to their lenders, creating opportunities for homeowners to stay in their home. Benefits of this law include:

  • The lender is required to notify the homeowner of their right to request a settlement conference at the beginning of a foreclosure proceeding.
  • If the homeowner asks for a settlement conference, the judge cannot sign the foreclosure order until the settlement conference has occurred.
  • A lender must send a representative to the settlement conference.
  • The homeowner is provided information throughout the foreclosure process about the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN) 1.877.GET.HOPE (1.877.438.4673), a non-profit organization that provides guidance, advice, and information to homeowners in financial trouble.

Attorneys are available assist homeowners during a settlement conference. To request a pro bono attorney contact the IFPN. If you feel you have been the victim of a deceptive real estate transaction or have knowledge of violations committed by a licensed professional in Indiana, you can submit a consumer complaint online at www.IndianaConsumer.com or you may contact the Consumer Protection Division at 317-232-6330 or toll free at 1-800-382-5516.

Indiana Countrywide Settlement

In July 2009, the Indiana Attorney General and thirty-nine other attorneys general entered into a multi-state settlement with Countrywide Home Loans, now owned by Bank of America. The settlement created a loan modification program called the National Homeownership Retention Program. The value of this program could reach $8 billion in savings for Hoosier homeowners. The Indiana Attorney General's Office is focused on keeping as many families in their homes as possible through this program which could impact as many as 5,000 Hoosiers. The settlement also provides $2.8 million in consumer restitution for 1,901 Indiana families who had a Countrywide home loan and were foreclosed.

Countrywide Settlement FAQS

 



IndianaConsumer.com is an official Web site supported and maintained by the Office of the Indiana Attorney General.