As one of his first tasks as a lawmaker, Representative Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) introduced a bill that, if it passes, will help those facing foreclosure proceedings.
In conjunction with State Reps. Karen Clark (DFL-Minneapolis) and Raymond Dehn (DFL-Minneapolis), Freiberg introduced the new piece of legislation on Jan. 16 and said that it will prohibit dual tracking, a controversial practice used by mortgage lenders during foreclosure proceedings.
While the bill was well received, lawmakers say they need more information before moving the bill forward.
The bill, which would be the first of its kind in Minnesota, has several intentions:
- End dual tracking; a process where one lender starts the foreclosure process while another attempts to help the homeowner make adjustments.
- Require lenders to give homeowners a single point of contact during the foreclosure process.
- Require mandatory mediation if requested by a borrower.
- Provide extra protections for Minnesota’s service members who find themselves in danger of losing their homes.
Currently, there is federal legislation in the works aimed at untangling the foreclosure process and many state lawmakers wanted to explore the differences between proposed federal legislation and Freiberg’s bill.
“As of right now federal legislation has been mentioned, but it’s my understanding it’s not drafted yet,” Freiberg told the committee. “I’m not willing to wait on the pace of the federal government to help homeowners in Minnesota.”
Still, at the end of a three-hour hearing, committee members decided to review the bill again in a few weeks.
Freiberg’s Inspiration for the Bill Comes From Golden Valley Woman
Golden Valley resident Rose McGee was attempting to work with her mortgage company after she lost her job and had trouble making payments. While she was in the process of adjusting her payment with one person in the mortgage company, another person was starting the process to foreclose on her home.
It’s this process, called dual-tracking, that Freiberg is working to ban.
“To me, this seems to be kind of immoral. I don’t see any good business justification for this process,” Freiberg said.
McGee has protested at the state capitol, inspired others to fight for their home and rallied local support from friends and government officials in Golden Valley.
“Rose has been a wonderful member of our community for decades and we’d like to keep it that way,” Mayor Shep Harris said in the video, “and we appreciate the community rallying around her and supporting her.”
Freiberg says he was drawn to help his constituent as soon as he heard her story. “She lives just a few blocks away from me,” he said. “She has a beautiful house -- lived there for decades and I want to help her and others like her.”
McGee spoke at a Wednesday morning press conference, saying that this bill doesn't take sides.
"It's not just my fight," McGee said. "It's a fight for people who aren't here and people of all classes. I hope people recognize this is not just about a party. This is about humanity."
Freiberg told the committee Wednesday he is more than willing to meet with any lawmakers or mortgage companies to find ways to improve the bill. The committee chair suggested reviewing the bill in two weeks.
- New Legislation Works to Address Foreclosure Crisis
- Community Rallies Around Resident's Fight To Save Home
- After Year-Long Fight, Golden Valley Resident’s Eviction Court Hearing Canceled
- Legislature Considering End to Controversial "Dual-Tracking" in Foreclosures