NY governor signs agreement with servicers.

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On July 9, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced two additional servicers signed up to adopt best practices for dealing with abandoned foreclosed properties in the state. The two additional companies--First Niagara and Carrington Mortgage--bring the total number of servicers who have agreed to adopt the best practices to 13. That number represents 70 percent of the companies servicing home loans in the state's housing markets, according to the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).

The best practices are designed to help continue the upkeep on abandoned and so-called zombie properties so that surrounding neighborhoods do not deteriorate due to properties not being maintained.

"Ensuring that abandoned properties do not fall into extreme disrepair keeps neighborhoods lively and prevents taxpayers from carrying the expense," Governor Cuomo said.

He added, "Mortgage companies can take simple steps and use best practices to help this problem, and I applaud the two businesses today who have committed to doing so."

The two additional servicers join a list that includes: Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citi Mortgage, Ocwen, Nationstar, PHH, Green Tree Servicing, Astoria Bank, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, M&T Bank and Ridgewood Savings Bank.

The New York State Department of Financial Services noted it would continue discussions with other servicers in the state to encourage adoption of the best practices, which are targeted for adoption by August 2015.

The best practices include having servicers regularly inspect properties where the mortgage has fallen into delinquency to determine if they are vacant and abandoned. Servicers also are expected to pledge to take steps to make sure such properties are safe and properly maintained. The agreement also requires servicers to report properties determined to be vacant and abandoned to a state registry to be developed by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

The information will be shared with local government officials, according to NYDFS. The department will work with those officials to "address and escalate any concerns about maintenance with the bank or mortgage...

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