By Kafia A. Hosh
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Democrat Brian Moran provided the broad outlines yesterday of how he would tackle the fast-growing foreclosure crisis if he is elected Virginia governor in November.
Moran, one of three candidates competing for the Democratic nomination, proposed a ban on predatory lending practices, a 90-day freeze for properties facing immediate foreclosure, mortgage education for borrowers, and policies that protect renters who live in foreclosed houses.
The former state delegate traveled to the working-class area of Sterling Park, which has been hit hard by the housing crisis, and laid out the details of his plan outside a foreclosed brick rambler.
"Virginia's families are getting squeezed," Moran said. "Our next governor needs to keep fighting for the family dinner table, not the corporate boardroom."
As governor, Moran said, he would implement his foreclosure proposals through executive order or legislation.
But a spokeswoman for one of Moran's opponents in the race, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), said Deeds has introduced legislation on the topic, having sponsored a bill to penalize mortgage brokers who use deceptive lending practices. It was defeated in a Senate committee.
Spokeswoman Brooke Borkenhagen said that, as governor, Deeds would fight to crack down on predatory lenders and eliminate hidden mortgage fees.
"His plan will be modeled after his legislation in the state Senate," she said.
Terry McAuliffe, who also is vying for the Democratic nomination, signaled in an interview on WTOP radio yesterday that he thinks the federal government, not the state, should take the lead in addressing the foreclosure crisis.
"I think the number one thing, and I mentioned this to President Obama, is you've got to keep people in their homes," McAuliffe said.
He said struggling homeowners don't gain much from pledges made by a candidate who can't act until taking office in January.
"Hopefully, by then, President Obama would stop the high rate of foreclosures," he said.
Moran said the problem is acute in Virginia and particularly in Loudoun County, where there were 2,200 foreclosed homes last year, up from 1,260 the year before, tax records show.
Moran wants Virginia to give homeowners more time to catch up on their payments, and he proposed a freeze on foreclosures on military families until 90 days after they return from a deployment. He said a hotline and Web site with information about mortgage products would help, too.
"People need additional information to make financial decisions," he said.
Staff writer Tim Craig contributed to this report.