Nevada lawmakers vote to revive foreclosure mediation program

Members of the legislative money committees voted on Wednesday to revive the foreclosure mediation program for the coming two years.

The program was created at the height of the recession when Nevada had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate. There were more than 82,000 notices of default in 2010 and the program helped bring 7,558 borrowers and lenders together in 2011, keeping more than a quarter of those homeowners from losing their homes.

But with the economy now recovering and home prices again on the rise, lawmakers agreed the need for the program has shrunk dramatically.

“We’ve turned the corner and it’s time to move away from here and do something else with our money,” said Assemblyman Randy Kirner, R-Reno, in a recent hearing.

Other members of the committee agreed saying the program did it’s job and they could use the $3 million a year costs elsewhere. They cut the program budget back to cover just those cases already in the pipeline.

But the money committees reopened the budget Wednesday putting nearly $1.5 million into the budget to run the program through this biennium.

But Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, said he would bring legislation through the Senate Finance Committee to ensure the program sunsets at the end of 2017.

Kirner agreed that’s appropriate since, with falling demand for mediation, he said, “with all the projections we have, the program would die of its own weight.”


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