Field Hearing “The Foreclosure Crisis”

Witness and Testimony Documents
Director, Homeownership Preservation Office
Treasury Department
Governor of Maryland
Mayor of Baltimore
Commissioner of Financial Regulation
Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
Chairwoman, Board of Directors
St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, Inc.
March 08, 2011,

Chairman Darrell Issa Hearing Preview Statement

Tuesday’s hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, entitled “The Foreclosure Crisis,” follows a tradition of the committee’s work to hold field hearings at locations around the country where the subject matter is especially pertinent to issues facing those communities.

The Baltimore area is facing record unemployment – hovering well above the national average at 10.5 percent – and reports indicate that the area’s foreclosure rate has jumped 62 percent in recent years. In the State of Maryland, 140,000 homeowners were behind in payments or facing foreclosure in the final three months of last year. Joblessness, as much as anything, has deepened the economic stress felt by these homeowners.

The American dream of homeownership, for many, has become an economic nightmare as they fight to stay in homes they cannot afford.

Against the backdrop of Baltimore’s crisis, the Committee will examine current questions and concerns related to the causes and effects of continued foreclosures. Reports that some mortgage servicers may have committed violations of law or contractual agreement have emerged, and federal programs designed to mitigate the foreclosure crisis now appear to have made things worse for many homeowners. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today on these important issues.

There is universal agreement that our nation will not experience a full scale economic recovery until the housing market recovers. On Tuesday, the Committee will hear from a range of witnesses with diverse views about the causes and solutions to the crisis, including the Governor of Maryland and the Mayor of Baltimore. The Treasury Department, regrettably, is unwilling to testify before the Committee at the hearing in Baltimore. This slight, however, will not discourage the Oversight Committee’s great concern for the plight of the people of Maryland.

We will continue to assess the economic pain experienced by homeowners in Maryland – and around the country – in light of the Administration’s failed Home Affordable Modification Program (“HAMP”).

I look forward to working with Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) to make this an informative and productive hearing.