Community Development



April 30, 2010

Richmond Fed Sponsors Legal Training on Mortgage Issues

Richmond, VA

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond is teaming with Civil Justice Inc., a Maryland nonprofit public interest law firm, to host the second free basic training for attorneys on how to review home purchase contracts and mortgage loan documents. The pro bono attorney training will be held on May 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Eastern Montgomery County Regional Service Center in Silver Spring, Md., and is a follow-up to the pro bono attorney training in Baltimore offered through the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Prevention Project.

Attorneys will receive instruction and mentoring on how to spot unsustainable and fraudulent mortgage transactions in exchange for a commitment to review documents for first-time homebuyers and homeowners refinancing their mortgages. More than 50 attorneys have volunteered thus far to help current and future Maryland homeowners avoid mortgage fraud.

Access to legal review services prior to signing their mortgage documents could help homebuyers avoid obtaining a mortgage that could place them at risk of foreclosure. The training is aimed at ensuring homebuyers are signing documents in line with the type of loan they expect.

"Borrowers of all income and education levels are at risk if they sign these complex documents without legal representation by a qualified, independent third party who has no interest in the transaction. For borrowers whose first language is not English, their ability to confirm that they are getting the loan they expected is even more challenging," said Diane Cipollone, manager of the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Prevention Program at Civil Justice.

Civil Justice will coordinate the placement of the cases with pro bono attorneys and provide free training, mentoring and malpractice insurance coverage in exchange for a commitment to review documents for either one purchase or refinance. Advanced training will be offered on May 27 at the University of Maryland in College Park, covering civil remedies for violations of Maryland's mortgage fraud and consumer protection laws, and federal law enforcement efforts to combat mortgage fraud. Attorneys are required to accept another document review pro bono for each of the advanced training sessions attended.

The Richmond Fed serves the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and most of West Virginia. As part of the nation's central bank, we're one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that work together with the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors to strengthen the economy and our communities. We manage the nation's money supply to keep inflation low and help the economy grow. We also supervise and regulate financial institutions to help safeguard our nation's financial system and protect the integrity and efficiency of our payments system.


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