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Money

Confidence down in NYS, foreclosure prevention cash at risk

Consumer confidence in New York dropped in February, reports Eric Reinhardt at the Central New York Business Journal:

Turmoil in the Middle East and rising gas prices affected consumers' willingness to spend, Douglas Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SRI founding director, said in a news release. "Confidence returned to the doldrums of late 2010 as consumers were more affected by the sudden price increases at the pump than by small gains on Wall Street or a drop in unemployment," Lonnstrom added.

Foreclosure

A foreclosure prevention program that saved the home of a cancer patient in Rochester is at risk due to state budget cuts reports Diana Louise Carter at the Democrat and Chronicle:

Dozens of agencies shared the $25 million in state funding for foreclosure prevention services over the past two years, but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposed budget would cut off that funding at the end of this year. Empire Justice and other agencies released a report Wednesday in Albany predicting major economic consequences if the legal services are cut at a time when the foreclosure crisis hasn't peaked yet. The report, by Empire Justice Center's Rochester staff, describes the state as being in just the first half of a foreclosure crisis — now driven by credit-worthy folks who have fallen on hard times instead of by predatory lending to poor credit risks.

Justin Sondel at From the Ruins reports that the city of Buffalo has lost its bid to retrieve money from banks that started foreclosures on homes but never completed the process, letting them fall into ruin:

The City of Buffalo and Mayor Byron Brown filed a lawsuit against 36 lenders in 2008 in an effort to recoup money used to demolish houses on which the lenders had started foreclosure proceedings, but never completed the process. [New York State Supreme Court Justice John] Curran ruled that the lenders were not mortgagees in possession on 9 of the 10 houses addressed in the summary judgement filed by the defendants in an oral argument handed down last April, meaning that they were not responsible for costs relating to the demolition or upkeep of the houses. The city filed the suit, not only in an effort to recoup the money, but in order to publicly hold the lenders accountable for maintaining houses on which they begin foreclosure proceedings, according to statements made in the press by then City of Buffalo Corporation Counsel Alisa Lukasiewicz.

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