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June 13, 2012: NHLP Requests USDA Stop Unfair Debt Collection from Single Family Home Loan Borrowers

On June 12, NHLP sent a letter asking the Department of Agriculture to cease the debt collection practices of the Rural Housing Service (RHS) with respect to borrowers who have defaulted on their RHS direct and guaranteed single family home loans. NHLP’s request was co-signed by 28 other national, regional and local organizations and individuals.

On June 12, NHLP sent a letter to Secretary Vilsack requesting that the Department of Agriculture cease the debt collection practices of the Rural Housing Service (RHS) with respect to borrowers who have defaulted on their RHS direct and guaranteed single family home loans. NHLP’s request was co-signed by 28 other national, regional and local organizations and individuals. A copy of the letter is available here.

For more than six years the RHS has been seeking to offset the losses that the agency has incurred on its direct and guaranteed single family home loans by garnishing the wages and offsetting other federal benefits of thousands of very low-, low-, and moderate-income borrowers who have defaulted on their RHS single family direct and guaranteed home loans.

RHS has been using these debt collection practices regardless of the reasons underlying the default, the borrower’s capacity to repay the balance of the debt, which, due to the country’s economic and foreclosure crisis, may exceed $100,000 dollars, or whether a borrower is protected by a state anti-deficiency statute. Moreover, it is collecting these losses without having to go to court by using an administrative collection practice authorized by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996.

A recent Housing Law Bulletin article describing the collection practices and questioning their legality is available here. The Wall Street Journal published an article on the collection practices on May 24. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230437150457740600259176058...

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