The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) today held a hearing on current efforts to help millions of American families stay in their homes and to prevent the estimated one million foreclosures experts say may occur this year.

The CPC questioned New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, Co-Chair of President Obama’s Residential Mortgage Backed Securities Working Group, on lessons learned from the mortgage crisis.  Members urged Mr. Schneiderman to ensure that the Working Group acts swiftly to hold the banking, finance, and mortgage industries accountable for the housing crisis they created. 

John Griffith, Housing Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress, and Alazne (Ali) Solis, Vice President for Public Policy at Enterprise Community Partners, testified on the importance of providing immediate relief for homeowners, including offering principal reduction, modifying interest rates, or deferring payments to allow homeowners to stay in their homes.

Since September 2008, more than 3.2 million foreclosures have been completed. More than 11 million homeowners owe more on their homes than they’re worth, according to CoreLogic, Inc.In addition, an estimated seven million homes are in the foreclosure pipeline. One million additional foreclosure filings that have been delayed due to probes into misconduct by banks are expected to move forward this year alone.

“It is imperative that our collective efforts hold banks accountable for their role in the mortgage crisis, provide meaningful relief to struggling homeowners, and allow a full airing of the facts to make sure abuses of this scale never happen again,” said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “On multiple fronts, we will continue to investigate the mortgage crisis that has devastated hardworking families in every corner of this country, and ensure that justice and accountability prevail.”

“This hearing, and the legislative solution we’re going to push forward, is about justice for the millions of American families who lost their homes when bankers got greedy, blew up the economy and put everyone else on the hook,” said CPC co-chair Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ). “My home state of Arizona leads the country in foreclosures per household, and I see the pain in my own community every day. Congress can’t let this situation get any worse because of paralysis or indifference – that’s why the Progressive Caucus held today’s hearing and that’s why we’re following up with action.”

“Four years after the crisis first hit foreclosures continue to devastate millions of families in my state of Minnesota and across the country,” added CPC Co-Chair Keith Ellison (D-MN). “While the banks got bailed out American families continue to get kicked out of their homes. The CPC will continue to pursue action until homeowners get the justice they need.”

Testimony of John Griffith