NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. (KPLR) - You're facing foreclosure and don't know what to do. For a few short months mediation was an option for St. Louis County homeowners. Helen rattler bought her North County home in 2008. She tells me that a few years later her income changed. 'I wasn`t able to keep up with my payments like I was before and I got behind.'
She says by 2012 foreclosure was imminent.
'They had a sale date. They had what they were going to do and just all this information. And All I understood was foreclosure and the sale date.'
Helen didn't understand a form offering mediation. U.S. Arbitration and Mediation would facilitate. But she knew she needed help. She called Beyond Housing. Director Chris Krehmeyer describes mediation.
'It`s one last opportunity to talk to the lender and servicer and have a third party facilitate a conversation that says can I stay in my home can I live up to my obligations.'
Last year St. Louis County required bankers to offer mediation. It was the law. Beyond Housing helped prepare homeowners
'They had everything simplified. It was a list of what I needed. It said bank statements. It said fill out this affidavit. It said mortgage statement. It was plain. It was ABCD.'
It worked. Helen kept her house. But the ordinance is on hold. The Missouri Bankers Association successfully petitioned the Missouri Court of Appeals to issue an injunction. The group says it`s unconstitutional according to Association General Counsel Keith Thornburg.
'These things are beyond the authority of the charter like St. Louis County to enact. There are significant due process violations, violation of contracts, voiding contracts, and what have you.'
St. Louis city just passed a similar ordinance. It's possible the Bankers Association could challenge it as well. The county injunction is set for arguments April 3rd.
Keith Thornburg says homeowners in the city and county should not wait if they are facing financial problems. Let your lender know before you get behind. It could possibly save you from the risk of foreclosure.
If you have consumer issues call us at Contact 2. The toll free number is 800-782-2222. Volunteers take calls Monday through Thursday between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.