Welcome!

Welcome to the online home of the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending (MAAPL). Here you will find information about us and our work, including

  • Timely information about current events related to the fight against fraudulent and predatory mortgage lending practices and our members’ efforts to help Massachusetts residents keep their homes
  • Legislation currently before the Mass. General Court that provides important protections to homeowners and tenants facing foreclosure and eviction
  • Information about the foreclosure crisis and its impact on Massachusetts residents and the economy, and resources for getting help if you are facing foreclosure or eviction and for community organizers working on issues related to the foreclosure crisis

How Can I Help?

By following us on Twitter, Liking our Facebook page, and bookmarking or subscribing to this Web site, you can keep up with the latest information on public hearings, protests, press conferences, and other actions related to foreclosures and fraudulent mortgage lending practices throughout Massachusetts. We encourage you to participate in these events and let your voice be heard. Together, we can stem the tide of the foreclosure crisis in Massachusetts!

Share Your Story!

We need your stories to help us put a human face on the foreclosure crisis and the impact of predatory and fraudulent mortgage lending practices. Please download and print this form to share your story with us or to help a friend or neighbor tell their story.

Become a MAAPL Member Organization or Supporter

Would you like to get your organization involved in MAAPL’s work against predatory mortgage lending practices and preventing needless foreclosures and evictions in Massachusetts? It’s easy–just download, complete and return this sign-up form.

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Action Alert: Pre-foreclosure Mediation Bill Hearing at State House

Save the Date!

Next Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 both the Senate (#425) and House (#947) bills for pre-foreclosure mediation, An Act to Facilitate Alternatives to Foreclosure, have a hearing! We need you to show up in support of these important bills!

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 26th
Time: 1:00 pm EST
Location: State House, Room B-1

Please plan to be there!

Please testify and bring others to testify!

Please plan to call your State Representative and Senator that day!

Please plan to have others phone bank in support of these bills!

It’s been a long time since we have been up to the State House in force; they need to know we are still fighting!

In order for these bills to pass this session, we need to get this Financial Services Committee to release them by March 19th – the time is now!

For more information on these bills, including talking points to use when contacting your elected State officials, download our Fact Sheet on these bills ( PDF ).

Please join us for this important hearing!
We need your presence and your voice
in support of these bills!

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MAAPL Releases Fact Sheet on Senate Bill S1987

The Mass. Alliance Against Predatory Lending has released a 2-page Fact Sheet on Senate Bill S1987, “An Act clearing titles to foreclosed properties”. The Fact Sheet summarizes the effects of the bill, and provides answers to questions about those effects for concerned Massachusetts residents.

You can download a copy of the Fact Sheet (PDF) and refer to it when speaking to your MA Representative and when discussing the bill with your friends and networks.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. If your Representative sits on this Committee, please contact them and ask that they oppose this bill.

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Grace Ross Interviewed on WZBC on the Danger of S1987

On Saturday, January 25th, John Grebe of WZBC radio interviewed MAAPL Coordinator Grace Ross about the threat to Massachusetts homeowners posed by Senate Bill 1987.

S1987 passed the Mass. Senate unanimously on Thursday, and has been submitted to the House of Representatives for a vote. This astonishing vote took place despite the fact that thousands of house foreclosures have been determined void by the Supreme Judicial Court, a ruling that affects homeowners throughout the Commonwealth. If this bill passes the House, homeowners who have been illegally foreclosed upon will only have one year to challenge the foreclosure in court, whereas they previously had 20 years to do so. And homeowners affected by future foreclosures will have only three years to challenge their foreclosure.

Grace Ross appeared on John Grebe’s radio show, Sounds of Dissent on WZBC, to provide an articulate and urgent explanation of the danger of this bill to Massachusetts homeowners and neighborhoods.

http://zbconline.com/wzbc-2014-01-25-12-00.m3u (download link for iTunes audio file)

The story on the Senate bill begins at 37:27, approximately 60% of the way through the recording. Please listen, and then call your Mass. Representative to urge them to oppose this bill.

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Action Alert: Oppose Senate Bill 1987!

Please take action today to protect the rights of homeowners to fight illegal foreclosures! This bill has already passed in the Senate by a unanimous vote. If it is passed in the House and signed by Governor Patrick, Senate Bill 1987 will make it easier for investors to buy up large numbers of foreclosed homes in our state, regardless of whether those foreclosures were illegal! This bill threatens the ability of homeowners to get their houses back if they were foreclosed upon illegally by reducing the amount of time they have to take legal action. Please call your MA Representative today, and ask them to oppose Senate 1987!

Why Should You Oppose this Bill?
Instead of giving homeowners a full twenty years to reverse the wrongs of the banks’ illegal foreclosures, this bill limits Massachusetts residents to only three years. In addition, it limits to one year the rights of those who already were foreclosed on to sue to regain their home. Considering the fact that the Supreme Judicial Court has declared thousands of Mass. foreclosures to be illegal and void, this bill has the potential to deny these homeowners their legal rights by sharply limiting their ability to sue lenders in court.

If this bill passes the House and is signed into law, a new purchaser of a foreclosed home would claim clear title to that property three years after the original foreclosure. It would allow that purchaser to sell the property out from under the original homeowner even if that person has proved in court that their foreclosure was illegal.

Supporters of this Bill argue that it clears the way for new homeowners to purchase and occupy these foreclosed properties. However, studies show that the majority of purchasers of foreclosed homes are not homeowners who will occupy the property but large investors who are overwhelmingly buying up our neighborhoods, taking advantage of foreclosure-discounted prices while many average Massachusetts residents cannot access a mortgage in this lending market.

For more information about this bill, read MAAPL’s press release (PDF)

Please join us today in speaking out against Senate Bill 1987, and urge your MA Representative to oppose it when it comes up for a vote!

Not sure who to call? Call the State House switchboard and ask for your Senator’s or Representative’s office: 617-722-2350, or look their name up at www.malegislature.gov to find their office phone number.

If you don’t know who your state Senator or Representative is, go to www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com and type in your address to find out their name.

You can read the full text of Senate Bill 1987 on the MA Legislature Web site.

Thank you for taking action! Together we can fight this bill and win!

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City of Lynn Passes Foreclosure Ordinance

Lynn, Massachusetts implements strongest homeowner (and neighborhood and local bank) protections in face of foreclosures in the U.S.

On June 17th, 2013, the City of Lynn, Massachusetts instituted the strongest municipal protections against the negative impacts of the foreclosure crisis in the U.S.

“We’re not here because people don’t want to pay their mortgage but because they happened to buy a home during an unprecedented housing bubble and their mortgage was never affordable,” explained Isaac Hodes, the organizer for Lynn United for Change, the local organization of residents fighting foreclosure in the City that initiated and defined the legislation the City passed. Lynn United and its local allied people’s organizations brought out hundreds for rallies and three City Council sessions that kept their voices in the forefront and ensured unanimous passage of the forward-looking ordinance.

The Lynn Homeowners Bill of Rights expands upon ordinances passed in other Massachusetts cities. In addition to a pre-foreclosure mediation requirement and a requirement of foreclosing banks to put up a $10,000 dollar cash bond at the start of each foreclosure, Lynn also now requires that banks allow former homeowners to pay a reasonable rent to remain in their home until the property is purchased by a new owner-occupant post-foreclosure.

“If the Federal and State government fail to protect the homeowner, then we must do it at the local level. If this prevents one family from losing their home, then the ordinance is a success. Simply put, you either side with big banks and Wall Street or American families; the City of Lynn, Massachusetts decided to side with its people”, declared Tim Phelan, Lynn City Council President.

“We are extremely proud of Lynn United’s effort, the community’s participation, and the stand-up leadership of the Lynn City Council and the local Register of Deeds. The people of Lynn deserve to have their lives and their community made whole; and they came out again and again to make that clear,” explained Grace Ross, Coordinator of the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending (MAAPL), the 70 member statewide coalition of which Lynn United is a part, as are Springfield No One Leaves and the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team.

The Springfield and Worcester member groups of MAAPL had passed the most forward-looking ordinances at the time of their passage–the language and breadth of which MAAPL and its lawyers have been consistently improving as local member groups have passed more and more homeowner- and community-focused anti-foreclosure legislation. The leadership of another MAAPL member group, the Merrimack Valley Project, also recently passed a pre-foreclosure mediation and cash bond ordinance in the hard-hit city of Lawrence.

“The teeth unique to Lynn’s version of the pre-foreclosure mediation section of this law is that Register of Deeds John O’Brien has stepped up as a leader and is committed to upholding the Lynn law, and will not record any foreclosure deeds unless accompanied by a certificate of compliance from the city,” Grace Ross went on to explain.

Southern Essex Register of Deeds O’Brien said, “this ordinance implemented today by the city of Lynn is the strongest homeowner protection ordinance in the nation. I urge that this law be adopted by other cities and towns across the country.” In addition, Register O’Brien is urging his fellow Registers of Deeds and Recorders across the country to follow his lead. “Communities need to have in place a law that will protect citizens’ property rights, communities, neighborhoods, and equally as importantly, a law that will ensure that the banks are held accountable.”

The District Councilor who helped guide this ordinance to passage, Peter Capano, gave this justification. “The banks had their bail-out, so the people of Lynn have their bail-out now–a little bit for the people who are affected by the economic collapse but have been left out of any national bail-out–we can at least tilt the balance a little. It was how so many different parts of our community worked on this that was really impressive and unusual in this effort. I hope other communities pass these laws as well.”

Related Articles and Press Coverage

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Breaking News: Megabanks Continue to Violate AG Settlement, MA Law

Settlement Banks Continue Endemic Violations of Massachusetts Law;
New study documents violations – foreclosure victims call for immediate action!

May 28, 2012 – “With over 50,000 foreclosures and counting since this key state law became a requirement before any residential foreclosures, the continued rampant neglect and violation by the five mega-banks is egregious in the extreme,” stated Grace Ross, coordinator of the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending, “We looked at compliance with Massachusetts’ Right to Cure statute since July 5, 2012 when the five settlement banks promised 100% compliance and an end to all robo-signing. Could they more clearly be snubbing their nose at the National Settlement, our AG, our laws and the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?”

The Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending released today an extensive report showing that the 5 mega-banks that are signatories to the national settlement, known as the ‘Attorneys General Settlement’, were in 100% non-compliance with a key Massachusetts foreclosure law. This is after reporting to the Settlement Monitor that they were now in 100% compliance with state laws as of July 5, 2012. The settlement banks are: Bank of America; Wells Fargo; JP Morgan Chase; Citibank; GMAC part Allied Group. The report is available for download on the MAAPL Web site.

The five settlement banks also in their July 5th 2012 report stated uniform compliance with the legal requirement of signing all affidavits under personal knowledge. This study shows that all affidavits required by this key state law claim compliance when they are not; these affidavits were likely signed without personal knowledge, what is called “robo-signed”.

“I work with dozens of homeowners. The ongoing, widespread and fatal defects contained in an extremely high percentage of the legally-required ‘default/right to cure’ letters is unconscionable. Like so many big bank practices, these legal violations have harmed 10s of thousands in Massachusetts and will continue to,” explained Jamie Ranney, a leading Massachusetts anti-foreclosure lawyer. “This trend, if it continues, and there is no reason to believe that it will not, calls into question the validity of every non-judicial foreclosure that has taken place in Massachusetts on or after May 1, 2008.  I have called on our Attorney General to act before. Now she and the Settlement Monitor simply must act without delay.”

“For my particular case, I previously had excellent credit, then fell behind due to an extended family medical hardship. The bank’s apparent violation of the Right to Cure law has made a tremendous positive impact on my ability to negotiate with the lender. The enforcement of this law will hopefully allow me clear my title and save my home,” said Gwen, an embattled long-term homeowner in Massachusetts.

“I have been working with legal representation to stay in my home because I felt like I was getting taken advantage of, screwed.” Ken Helleberg is a long time resident; he has lived in his home since the 1977. He had to refinance during the housing bubble (in his case because of a divorce), and like others who did, fell behind in his payments. In May of 2011, the bank supposedly held an auction and foreclosed.

“They did everything wrong: the name on the original mortgage turns out is a non-existent company; three weeks after the date of the auction the bank’s law firm showed up and had witnesses sign to a paper supposedly witnessing the auction that had already happened. In terms of the Right to Cure letter, after attending housing court with my lawyer, he bought up enough inconsistencies and mistakes in what they sent so the case was dismissed. And I am still in my home, thank goodness!”

The report closes with a request for immediate action by Massachusetts Attorney General Coakley and the National Settlement Monitor Smith to redress the continuing bank violations.

“We have potentially thousands of families effected. The time has come to finally require compliance with laws, with the kind of affidavits the rest of us are required to file – we have waited through three settlements, hundreds of articles on robosigning, 6 and ½ years of this crisis. We have provide clear examples and evidence of system-wide violations. We the people of Massachusetts (and beyond) can wait no longer!” said Magalis Troncoso Lama, co-chair of the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending.

The full text of MAAPL’s report is available as a PDF file. Three Appendices to the report, MAAPL’s Right to Cure Checklist, State Violation Samples, and Case Studies 1-19 are also available for download and viewing as PDF files.

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Action Alert: Hearing on MAAPL Bills Scheduled for 6/19

Two of the four bills that MAAPL introduced in the 2013 MA legislative session are coming up for a hearing before the Joint Committee on Judiciary at the State House on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm in Hearing Room A-1. Please come out to show your support for these bills at the hearing!

The two bills, Preventing Unnecessary Vacancies in Foreclosed Homes (S728/H1596) and An Act to Amend the Foreclosure Statute to Require Judicial Foreclosure (S753/H1617), and their associated MAAPL Fact Sheets are posted on the MAAPL Web site.

If you’d like to testify in favor of either or both of these bills, please contact Grace C. Ross (617-291-5591) or e-mail maaplinfo@yahoo.com as soon as possible to let us know you’ll be attending and submitting your testimony. You’re also welcome to attend the hearing to support the bills without testifying.

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Action Alert: Ask Your State Legislators to Co-Sponsor MAAPL’s Foreclosure Bills for 2013!

As you may know, MAAPL has recently filed four new bills for the 2013 MA legislative session to help secure important rights and protections for homeowners facing foreclosure and eviction. Now we need your help to secure a good, solid number of co-sponsors for MAAPL’s legislation this session.

Critically important: We need you to call your State legislators by Friday, February 1st, the deadline for signing on as co-sponsors for the current legislative session!

Please contact your State legislators as soon as possible, and request that they sign on to the following bills:

An Act to Prevent Unnecessary Vacancies in Foreclosed Homes, the Senate version sponsored by Senator James Eldridge, docket number SD.1001; enables former homeowners to rent the property post-foreclosure until there is a new owner/occupant;

Act to Facilitate Alternatives to Foreclosure, our new pre-foreclosure mediation bill, Senate docket number SD.1278/House docket number HD.2780; Lead sponsor in the House is John Mahoney, lead sponsor in the Senate is Harriette Chandler;

An Act Relative to the Relief of (taxes on) Mortgage Debt, Senate docket number SD.908/House docket number HD.2625; lead sponsor in the House is Elizabeth Malia, lead sponsor in the Senate is Sal DiDomenico; brings state law in line with federal law so that the difference between the foreclosure sale amount and the mortgage debt cannot be taxed by the state; and

An Act to Amend the Foreclosure Statute to Require Judicial Foreclosure, Senate docket number SD.443/House docket number HD.1812, was filed once again, thankfully, by Representative Frank Smizik and Senator Thomas Kennedy.

These calls are urgent!

The State House system is not quickly updating the list of co-sponsors, so your legislator may have signed on as a co-sponsor even if they are not on the list yet – please ask them until they are listed.

Phone numbers: Call the State House switchboard and ask for your Senator’s or Representative’s office: 617-722-2350, or look their name up at www.malegislature.gov

Don’t know who your state Senator or Representative is? Go to www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com and type in your address.

Please remind our legislators that the foreclosure crisis is not over, and that the cumulative impact continues to harm our families, our neighborhoods, our communities, and our overall economy!

If you have any questions, please call Grace Ross at 617-291-5591 or Sue Parsons at 617-877-2930. Please let us know the results of your calls, and about any commitments you get from legislators to co-sponsor these bills.

These bills and their associated MAAPL Fact Sheets are posted on the MAAPL Web site. You can also refer your legislators to that link so they can learn more about each bill as they consider signing on.

It’s easy to be part of the solution – make a call today!


Update: The following MA Senators and Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of MAAPL’s bills for the 2013 legislative session as of Thursday, January 31st. If you see your Senator’s or Representative’s name on this list, please thank them for their support of these important bills.

An Act to Prevent Unnecessary Vacancies in Foreclosed Homes
Lead sponsor: Senator James B. Eldridge
Sen. Gale D. Candaras
Rep. Michael D. Brady
Rep. Christine E. Canavan
Rep. Gloria L. Fox
Rep. Mary S. Keefe
Rep. Kay Khan
Rep. Tom Sannicandro
Rep. Benjamin Swan
Rep. Chris Walsh

An Act to Facilitate Alternatives to Foreclosure
Lead sponsors: Senator Harriette L. Chandler; Representatives John J. Mahoney, James J. O’Day, Mary S. Keefe
Rep. Denise Andrews
Rep. Christine E. Canavan
Rep. Christopher G. Fallon
Rep. John P. Fresolo
Rep. Jay R. Kaufman
Rep. Kay Khan
Rep. Denise Provost
Rep. Tom Sannicandro
Rep. Ellen Story
Rep. Benjamin Swan
Rep. Chris Walsh

An Act to Amend the Foreclosure Statute to Require Judicial Foreclosure
Lead sponsors: Senator Thomas P. Kennedy, Representative Frank I. Smizik
Rep. Stephen L. DiNatale
Rep. John P. Fresolo
Rep. Jay R. Kaufman
Rep. Kay Khan
Rep. Tom Sannicandro
Rep. Benjamin Swan
Rep. Martha M. Walz

An Act Relative to the Relief of Mortgage Debt
Lead sponsors: Senator Sal N. DiDomenico, Representative Elizabeth A. Malia
Rep. Denise Andrews
Rep. Kay Khan
Rep. Denise Provost

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Breaking News: Report Reveals 5 Megabanks Violating AG Settlement Agreement

The NEWS has been broken: an investigative report by our partner, GoLocalWorcester, reveals that affidavits by the 5 megabanks that signed the settlement with the Attorneys General and Federal agencies are STILL robosigning even though in their legally binding reports to the Settlement Monitor they said they were signing ALL affidavits based on personal knowledge as of July 5, 2012.

Read the full story here on GoLocalWorcester.com! They also have posted a background article with a timeline of the events leading to the foreclosure crisis and the national settlement with these banks.

MAAPL will definitely be following this story closely, and will post updates as they are available.

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Alert: Independent Foreclosure Review Deadline is This December 31st!

FINAL DEADLINE DECEMBER 31, 2012 TO APPLY FOR COMPENSATION

Friends, this program can offer a wide range of potentially significant compensation, BUT it should be in addition to EVERYTHING else we need to do to protect our homes and financial well-being. Please contact MAAPL immediately if something in the process seems amiss.


Thanks to a Federal Settlement, 28 of the largest mortgage servicers must compensate homeowners who were harmed any time after Jan. 1, 2009, regardless of whether you were eventually foreclosed upon, and whether you are still in the home.

This application is FREE–DO NOT let anyone charge you to apply! This program is separate from any other programs or legal suits–-do not worry about hurting your rights to other compensation. There is no guidance on what the amount of compensation will be, although they even have the power to reverse a foreclosure, so make sure to identify ALL harms (please review our IFR Questions document [PDF file] as well).

Independent Foreclosure Review

The Federal Reserve Board instituted the IFR for borrowers who believe they were financially harmed during the mortgage foreclosure process starting in 2009 and 2010. You must request an independent review by the end of the day on DECEMBER 31st, 2012 to potentially receive compensation… “servicers are required to compensate borrowers for financial injury resulting from deficiencies in their foreclosure processes.”

Borrowers are eligible for a review if their primary residence was in the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010, whether or not the foreclosure was completed. The review is intended to determine if those borrowers suffered financial harm directly resulting from errors, misrepresentations, or other servicer deficiencies.

To apply for a review, individuals should use the online forms since the closing date is so soon! Identify your Servicing Bank(s) and click on their name in the Start Here box on the Independent Foreclosure Review Web site linked above to start the online application process. Scroll down and enter the requested information to access the online application for your Servicing Bank(s).

Many of the specific harms that servicers caused were also NOT included in the standard review questions–please review and fill out the additional questions document MAAPL has compiled, and add any information from the document that applies to you into the online form!

There are no costs associated with being included in the review. If the review finds that financial injury occurred as a result of errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies in the servicer’s foreclosure process, the borrower may receive compensation or other remedy.

What foreclosure actions are part of the Independent Foreclosure Review?
Foreclosure actions include any of the following occurrences on a primary residence between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2010:

  • The property was sold due to a foreclosure.
  • The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process but was removed from the process because payments were brought up‐to‐date or the borrower entered a payment plan or modification program.
  • The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process, but the home was sold or the borrower participated in a short sale or chose a deed‐in‐lieu or other program to avoid foreclosure.
  • The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process and remains delinquent but the foreclosure sale has not yet taken place.

How do I know if I am eligible?
Your loan must first meet the following initial eligibility criteria:

  • Your mortgage loan was serviced by one or more of the participating mortgage servicers.
  • Your mortgage loan was active in the foreclosure process between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2010.
  • The property was your primary residence.

The company you sent your monthly mortgage payments to is your mortgage servicer. It’s not necessarily the company whose name is on the actual foreclosure documents. If you don’t remember the name of the servicer, we suggest you review your cancelled checks, bank statements, online statements or other records related to your mortgage payments for this information.

You should apply separately for an Independent Foreclosure Review for EACH servicer you had starting on January1, 2009, if more than one of the servicers on the list serviced your mortgage during this time period!

If you are still unsure of who your mortgage servicer is or do not see their name listed, please call 1‐888‐952‐9105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Eastern Time for assistance.

Examples of financial injury due to errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process include but are not limited to:

  • The mortgage balance amount at the time of the foreclosure action was more than you actually owed.
  • You were doing everything the modification agreement required, but the foreclosure sale still happened. The foreclosure action occurred while you were protected by bankruptcy.
  • You requested assistance/modification, submitted complete documents on time, and were waiting for a decision when the foreclosure sale occurred.
  • Fees charged or mortgage payments were inaccurately calculated, processed, or applied.
  • The foreclosure action occurred on a mortgage that was obtained before active duty military service began and while on active duty, or within 9 months after the active duty ended and the service member did not waive his/her rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Remember to review the additional questions linked here to identify all possible harms to you or your family and add them to the online form.


FINAL DEADLINE DECEMBER 31, 2012 TO APPLY FOR COMPENSATION

If you would like to participate in our webinar to help you fill out this application, we hope to have one on Friday, December 28th and Monday, December 31st. Please email your interest to maaplinfo@yahoo.com

If you have problems filling out the online information, also email us at maaplinfo@yahoo.com. We will reply within 12 hours.

Good luck! And DON’T miss the deadline!

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