A co-founder of a group designed to prevent abuse from mortgage companies says her organization probably would take the advice of a local banker and push for legislation creating an ombudsman's office.
"If you are a consumer of most products, you can go to K mart or Fred Meyer or anywhere else, but we were not given a choice," said Kristy Jerome of Help Save Homes.She is among more than 100 Cache County residents who have lost their homes or were threatened with foreclosure, even when they had documents showing that their payments had been made on time and were up to date.
"We were sent letters four times telling us someone different was handling our loan and each time the problems increased," she said.
Jerome said her group was founded with the help of state Rep. Frank Prante, D-Logan.
"We want to do something to give the homebuyers with first mortgages some kind of rights so they can at least be considered consumers, and we are finding a lot of people interested in our goals," she said.
Rex Plowman, Lewiston State Bank president in northern Cache County, told a meeting of Cache County Democratic Women he believes an ombudsman's office could be created to help people who are unaware of where to get competent legal advice or cannot afford it.
Paul Van Dam, Utah attorney general, has recently offered help to Help Save Homes.
"He could help you make sure someone is available with expert knowledge in real estate lending laws and procedures," Plowman said.
Most complaints involve large mortgage service companies which have expanded beyond their capacity, Plowman said. He said even if actual fraud is not involved, those who have been dealt with unfairly should be compensated.
"An ombudsman could help you sue for what they have done, and I am not talking just about dollars and cents, but also what it has done to your personal life and physical health," he said.