|Linda H. Allen, HUD Region IV Public Affairs
(404) 331-5001 ext. 2012
Bonnie B. Dixon, HUD GA Public Affairs
(404) 331-5001 ext. 2013
June 22, 2006
HUD ASSISTANT SECRETARY BRIAN D. MONTGOMERY KEYNOTES SAVANNAH MORTGAGE FRAUD SYMPOSIUM
"Stop Mortgage Fraud: A Call to Action � Spot it � Stop it!"
SAVANNAH - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal
Housing Commissioner Brian D. Montgomery today gave the keynote address at a HUD Mortgage Fraud Symposium in Savannah, Georgia. The symposium, sponsored by HUD, aimed to increase consumer awareness of all types of fraud within the single housing industry.
"I firmly believe that one of the best ways to prevent fraud is to have educated consumers," said Commissioner Montgomery. "That's why we at FHA are remarketing our products so that consumers may protect themselves and their family from fraud."
Recently published and broadcasted news reports have highlighted many cases of mortgage fraud. Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina are among the top five states in the country where mortgage fraud is most prevalent.
As one of the fastest growing crimes in America, mortgage fraud has been the source of higher borrowing costs and inflated property tax. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports the number of pending cases has nearly doubled over the past three years. Last year's losses from federally regulated banks topped $1 billion.
Since 2000, HUD's housing counseling funding has more than doubled to $45 million, including $2.7 million allocated specifically to mortgage fraud education.
Housing counseling agencies assist prospective homebuyers in making informed decisions and help unwary borrowers avoid inflated appraisals, unreasonably high interest rates, unaffordable repayment terms, which can result in the
loss of equity, increased debt, default and even foreclosure. HUD has published a consumer brochure Don't Be a Victim of Loan Fraud and is conducting a national advertising campaign to steer consumers toward safe mortgage choices.
Partners of today's Symposium included: Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight
(OFHEO), Association of
Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Florida Office of Financial Regulation, North Carolina Commissioner of Banks, South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, Georgia
Department of Banking and Finance, Capstone Institute Foundation, National Association of Professional Mortgage Women, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Opteum Mortgage, Pine State Mortgage, Georgia Association of Realtors,
Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia, Popular Mortgage Corporation, and Putnam Mortgage and Finance, LLC.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet